Individuals’ focus patterns differ when they are allowed to observe complicated scenes freely. The propensity to focus on faces is the most obvious and dependable aspect of such individual variations. The distribution of fixations across various body parts of people in situations and how individuals may differ in this regard was far less well understood. For a study, researchers sought to bridge that gap.
They added 6,365 manually drawn pixel masks for the body parts of 1,136 people immersed in 700 intricate sceneries to an existing annotated stimulus set, which they shared with the research. Using the tool, they were able to examine the person-directed fixations of 103 viewers who were free to see these situations. In the distribution of fixations among individual traits, they discovered significant and consistent individual variances. Two anticorrelated clusters of each person’s fixation tendencies—one for the body characteristics and the other for the eyes, head, and inner face—were established (torsi, arms, legs, and hands).
It was interesting to note that the fixation on lips was unrelated to the face cluster. Last but not least, the findings demonstrated that viewers who shy away from personal fixations generally also do so for the region of the face. The results highlighted the importance of individual variability in fixation behavior and shed light on underlying factors. They also supported a push-pull relationship between the cortical tuning for faces and bodies that was recently proposed. They might also help compare the variation in particular populations to that in general.