Within the set of the many complex factors driving gaze placement, the properities of an image that are associated with fixations under free viewing conditions have been studied extensively. There is a general impression that the field is close to understanding this particular association. Here we frame saliency models probabilistically as point processes, allowing the calculation of log-likelihoods and bringing saliency evaluation into the domain of information. We compared the information gain of state-of-the-art models to a gold standard and find that only one third of the explainable spatial information is captured. We additionally provide a principled method to show where and how models fail to capture information in the fixations. Thus, contrary to previous assertions, purely spatial saliency remains a significant challenge. Click to Read Paper
Dozens of new models on fixation prediction are published every year and compared on open benchmarks such as MIT300 and LSUN. However, progress in the field can be difficult to judge because models are compared using a variety of inconsistent metrics. Here we show that no single saliency map can perform well under all metrics. Instead, we propose a principled approach to solve the benchmarking problem by separating the notions of saliency models, maps and metrics. Inspired by Bayesian decision theory, we define a saliency model to be a probabilistic model of fixation density prediction and a saliency map to be a metric-specific prediction derived from the model density which maximizes the expected performance on that metric given the model density. We derive these optimal saliency maps for the most commonly used saliency metrics (AUC, sAUC, NSS, CC, SIM, KL-Div) and show that they can be computed analytically or approximated with high precision. We show that this leads to consistent rankings in all metrics and avoids the penalties of using one saliency map for all metrics. Our method allows researchers to have their model compete on many different metrics with state-of-the-art in those metrics: "good" models will perform well in all metrics. Click to Read Paper
Here we present DeepGaze II, a model that predicts where people look in images. The model uses the features from the VGG-19 deep neural network trained to identify objects in images. Contrary to other saliency models that use deep features, here we use the VGG features for saliency prediction with no additional fine-tuning (rather, a few readout layers are trained on top of the VGG features to predict saliency). The model is therefore a strong test of transfer learning. After conservative cross-validation, DeepGaze II explains about 87% of the explainable information gain in the patterns of fixations and achieves top performance in area under the curve metrics on the MIT300 hold-out benchmark. These results corroborate the finding from DeepGaze I (which explained 56% of the explainable information gain), that deep features trained on object recognition provide a versatile feature space for performing related visual tasks. We explore the factors that contribute to this success and present several informative image examples. A web service is available to compute model predictions at http://deepgaze.bethgelab.org. Click to Read Paper
The eye fixation patterns of human observers are a fundamental indicator of the aspects of an image to which humans attend. Thus, manipulating fixation patterns to guide human attention is an exciting challenge in digital image processing. Here, we present a new model for manipulating images to change the distribution of human fixations in a controlled fashion. We use the state-of-the-art model for fixation prediction to train a convolutional neural network to transform images so that they satisfy a given fixation distribution. For network training, we carefully design a loss function to achieve a perceptual effect while preserving naturalness of the transformed images. Finally, we evaluate the success of our model by measuring human fixations for a set of manipulated images. On our test images we can in-/decrease the probability to fixate on selected objects on average by 43/22% but show that the effectiveness of the model depends on the semantic content of the manipulated images. Click to Read Paper