Too Big to Miss? (10-11-17)

Research by Eckstein and his team indicates that scale influences perception in intriguing ways.  Eckstein, Koehler, Welbourne, and Akbas found that “Humans often miss giant targets [things they’re looking for] during visual search. . . . Missing giant targets is a functional brain strategy to discount distractors. . . . humans often miss targets when their size is inconsistent with the rest of the scene, even when the targets were made larger and more salient and observers fixated the target.”  This study again links expectations to perceptions and its findings should influence the scale of items presented to users.  In the Eckstein study, if test objects were present, they were included at appropriate scale or at 4 times the scale that would be expected and the oversized objects were missed 13% more often than those of usual size.

Miguel Eckstein, Kathryn Koehler, Lauren Welbourne, and Emre Akbas.  2017.  “Humans, But Not Deep Neural Networks, Often Miss Giant Targets in Scenes.”  Current Biology, vol. 27, no. 18, pp. 2827-2832.