OSA's Digital Library

Applied Optics

Applied Optics


  • Editor: Joseph N. Mait
  • Vol. 53, Iss. 13 — May. 1, 2014
  • pp: C72–C82

Designing pictorial stimuli for perceptual experiments

Susan P. Farnand and Mark D. Fairchild  »View Author Affiliations

Applied Optics, Vol. 53, Issue 13, pp. C72-C82 (2014)

View Full Text Article

Enhanced HTML    Acrobat PDF (1462 KB)

Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Browse by Journal and Year


Lookup Conference Papers

Close Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Article Tools



The effects of design decisions in the development of systems that generate images for human consumption, such as cameras and displays, are often evaluated using real-world images. However, human observers can react differently to complex pictorial stimuli over the course of a lengthy experiment. This study was conducted to develop understanding of the optimal design of pictorial stimuli for effective and efficient perceptual experiments. The goals were to understand the impact of image content on visual attention and consistency of experimental results and apply this understanding to develop guidelines for pictorial target design for perceptual image comparison experiments. The efficacy of the proposed guidelines was evaluated. While the fixation consistency results were generally as expected, fixation consistency did not always equate to experimental response consistency. Along with scene complexity, the image modifications and the difficulty of the image equivalency decisions played a role in the experimental response.

© 2014 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(110.3000) Imaging systems : Image quality assessment
(330.1720) Vision, color, and visual optics : Color vision
(330.2210) Vision, color, and visual optics : Vision - eye movements
(330.5020) Vision, color, and visual optics : Perception psychology
(330.5510) Vision, color, and visual optics : Psychophysics

Original Manuscript: December 13, 2013
Revised Manuscript: March 13, 2014
Manuscript Accepted: March 19, 2014
Published: April 23, 2014

Virtual Issues
Vol. 9, Iss. 7 Virtual Journal for Biomedical Optics

Susan P. Farnand and Mark D. Fairchild, "Designing pictorial stimuli for perceptual experiments," Appl. Opt. 53, C72-C82 (2014)

Sort:  Author  |  Year  |  Journal  |  Reset  


  1. D. M. Green and J. A. Swets, Signal Detection Theory and Psychophysics (Wiley, 1966) pp. 137–176.
  2. T. Judd, F. Durand, and A. Torralba, “Fixations on low-resolution images,” J. Vis. 11(4), 14 (2011). [CrossRef]
  3. S. J. Luck and E. K. Vogel, “The capacity of visual working memory for features and conjunctions,” Nature 390, 279–281 (1997). [CrossRef]
  4. G. A. Miller, “The magical number seven plus or minus two: some limits on our capacity for processing information,” Psycholog. Rev. 63, 81–97 (1956). [CrossRef]
  5. G. A. Alvarez and P. Cavanagh, “The capacity of visual short-term memory is set both by visual information load and by number of objects,” Psychol. Sci. 15, 106–111 (2004).
  6. J. Duncan, “Selective attention and the organization of visual information,” J. Exp. Psychol. 113, 501–517 (1984). [CrossRef]
  7. W. Einhäuser, U. Rutishauser, and C. Koch, “Task-demands can immediately reverse the effects of sensory-driven saliency in complex visual stimuli,” J. Vis. 8(2), 2 (2008). [CrossRef]
  8. I. Biederman, R. J. Mezzanotte, and J. C. Rabinowitz, “Scene perception: detecting and judging objects undergoing relational violations,” Cogn. Psychol. 14, 143–177 (1982).
  9. P. G. Engeldrum, Psychometric Scaling: A Toolkit for Imaging Systems, (Imcotek, 2000).
  10. J. S. Babcock, J. B. Pelz, and M. D. Fairchild, “Eye tracking observers during color image evaluation tasks,” in Proceedings of SPIE-IS&T Human Vision and Electronic Imaging VIII (International Society for Optics and Photonics, 2003) pp. 218–230.
  11. J. S. Babcock, J. B. Pelz, and M. D. Fairchild, “Eye tracking observers during rank order, paired comparison, and graphical rating tasks,” in Image Processing, Image Quality, Image Capture Systems Conference (PICS) Proceedings (Society for Imaging Science and Technology, 2003) pp. 10–15.
  12. M. I. Posner, C. R. R. Snyder, and B. J. Davidson, “Attention and the detection of signals,” J. Exp. Psychol. 109, 160–174 (1980). [CrossRef]
  13. F. S. Frey and S. P. Farnand, “Benchmarking art image interchange cycles: final report,” 2011, http://artimaging.rit.edu .
  14. S. Werner and B. Thies, “Is ‘change blindness’ attenuated by domain-specific expertise? An expert-novices comparison of change detection in football images,” Vis. Cogn. 7, 163–174 (2000).
  15. S. P. Farnand, J. Jiang, and F. S. Frey, “Comparing hardcopy and softcopy results in the study of the impact of workflow on perceived reproduction quality of fine art images,” Proc. SPIE 7867, 786705 (2011). [CrossRef]
  16. H. Kivinen, M. Nuutinen, and P. Oittinen, “Comparison of colour difference methods for natural images,” in Proceedings of Conference on Color in Graphics, Image and Vision (CGIV) (Society for Imaging Science and Technology, 2010) pp. 510–515.
  17. S. P. Farnand, Designing Pictorial Stimuli for Perceptual Image Difference Experiments (RIT, 2013).
  18. J. Rigau, M. Feixas, and M. Sbert, “An information theoretic framework for image complexity,” in Computational Aesthetics in Graphics, Visualization and Imaging (Eurographics Association, 2005).
  19. L. G. Ugarriza, E. Saber, S. R. Vantaram, V. Amuso, M. Shaw, and R. Bhaskar, “Automatic image segmentation by dynamic region growth and multiresolution merging,” IEEE Trans. Image Process. 18, 2275–2288 (2009). [CrossRef]
  20. G. T. Buswell, How People Look at Pictures: A Study of the Psychology of Perception in Art (University of Chicago, 1935).
  21. A. Yarbus, Eye Movements and Vision (Plenum, 1967).
  22. L. Itti, C. Koch, and E. Niebur, “A model of saliency-based visual attention for rapid scene analysis,” IEEE Trans. Pattern Analysis Machine Intellig. 20, 1254–1259 (1998). [CrossRef]
  23. C. A. Rothkopf, D. H. Ballard, and M. M. Hayhoe, “Task and context determine where you look,” J. Vis. 7(14), 16 (2007). [CrossRef]
  24. W. Einhauser, M. Spain, and P. Perona, “Objects predict fixations better than early saliency,” J. Vis. 8(14), 1–26 (2008).
  25. S. Triantaphillidou, E. Allen, and R. E. Jacobson, “Image quality comparison between JPEG and JPEG2000. II. Scene dependency, scene analysis, and classification,” J. Imaging Sci. Technol. 51, 259–270 (2007). [CrossRef]
  26. J. Redi, H. Liu, R. Zunino, and H. Heynderickx, “Interactions of visual attention and quality perception,” in SPIE Proceedings EI104, Human Vision and Electronic Imaging VXI (International Society for Optics and Photonics, 2011).
  27. G. J. Zelinsky, R. P. N. Rao, M. M. Hayhoe, and D. H. Ballard, “Eye movements and visual search in natural scenes,” in Proceedings of IS&T/OSA Optics and Imaging in the Information Age (Optical Society of America, 1996), pp. 1–5.
  28. K. Rayner, “Eye movements in reading and information processing: 20 years of research,” Psychol. Bull. 124, 372–422 (1998). [CrossRef]
  29. C. Fredembach, J. Wang, and G. J. Woolfe, “Saliency, visual attention and image quality,” in Proceedings of the Eighteenth Color Imaging Conference, (IS&T, 2010) pp. 128–133.
  30. D. Parkhurst and E. Niebur, “Texture contrast attracts overt visual attention in natural scenes,” Eur. J. Neurosci. 19, 783–789 (2004). [CrossRef]
  31. C. Fredembach, “Saliency as compact regions for local image enhancement,” in Proceedings of the Nineteenth Color and Imaging Conference: Color Science and Engineering Systems, Technologies, and Applications (IS&T, 2011).

Cited By

Alert me when this paper is cited

OSA is able to provide readers links to articles that cite this paper by participating in CrossRef's Cited-By Linking service. CrossRef includes content from more than 3000 publishers and societies. In addition to listing OSA journal articles that cite this paper, citing articles from other participating publishers will also be listed.

« Previous Article  |  Next Article »

OSA is a member of CrossRef.

CrossCheck Deposited