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Eye-tracking study of inanimate objects

Author(s): Ković Vanja | Plunkett Kim | Westermann Gert

Journal: Psihologija
ISSN 0048-5705

Volume: 42;
Issue: 4;
Start page: 417;
Date: 2009;
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Keywords: inanimate objects | eye-tracking | mental representations

Unlike the animate objects, where participants were consistent in their looking patterns, for inanimates it was difficult to identify both consistent areas of fixations and a consistent order of fixations. Furthermore, in comparison to animate objects, in animates received significantly shorter total looking time, shorter longest looks and a smaller number of overall fixations. However, as with animates, looking patterns did not systematically differ between the naming and non-naming conditions. These results suggested that animacy, but not labelling, impacts on looking behavior in this paradigm. In the light of feature-based accounts of semantic memory organization, one could interpret these findings as suggesting that processing of the animate objects is based on the saliency/diagnosticity of their visual features (which is then reflected through participants eye-movements towards those features), whereas processing of the inanimate objects is based more on functional features (which cannot be easily captured by looking behavior in such a paradigm).

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