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Logo of iperceptioni-Perception
Iperception. 2011 May; 2(4): 337.
Published online 2011 May 1. doi:  10.1068/ic337
PMCID: PMC5393652

The Attraction of Visual Attention to Texts in Real-World Scenes: Are Chinese Texts Attractive to Non-Chinese Speakers?


When we look at real-world scenes, attention seems disproportionately attracted by texts. In the present study, we tested this hypothesis and examined the underlying factors. In Experiment 1, texts in real-world scenes were compared with paired control regions of similar size, eccentricity, and low-level visual saliency. The greater fixation probability and shorter minimum fixation distance of texts showed their higher attractiveness, possibly caused by prominent locations or special visual features of text. In Experiment 2, texts were removed from the scenes, and the results indicated that the locations that used to contain texts still drew more attention than controls. In Experiment 3, texts were placed in unexpected positions in front of homogeneous and inhomogeneous backgrounds. These unconstrained texts were found more attractive than controls, with background noise reducing this difference, which indicates that the attraction by specific visual features of text was superior to typical saliency. In Experiment 4, non-Chinese speakers were shown scenes in which texts were turned upside-down or replaced by Chinese texts. Both upside-down and Chinese texts were found approximately as attractive as the original texts in Experiment 1, with a slight advantage for upside-down texts. This finding indicates that text attraction also depends on familiarity.

Articles from i-Perception are provided here courtesy of SAGE Publications