Comparing the roles of landmark visual salience and semantic salience in visual guidance during indoor wayfinding

 

 

Abstract:Landmark visual salience (characterized by features that contrast with their surroundings and visual peculiarities) and semantic salience (characterized by features with unusual or important meaning and content in the environment) are two important factors that affect an individual’s visual attention during wayfinding. However, empirical evidence regarding which factor dominates visual guidance during indoor wayfinding is rare, especially in real-world environments. In this study, we assumed that semantic salience dominates the guidance of visual attention, which means that semantic salience will correlate with participants’ fixations more significantly than visual salience. Notably, in previous studies, semantic salience was shown to guide visual attention in static images or familiar scenes in a laboratory environment. To validate this assumption, first, we collected the eyemovement data of 22 participants as they found their way through a building. We then computed the landmark visual and semantic salience using computer vision models and questionnaires, respectively. Finally, we conducted correlation tests to verify our assumption. The results failed to validate our assumption and show that the role of salience in visual guidance in a real-world wayfinding process is different from the role of salience in perceiving static images or scenes in a laboratory. Visual salience dominates visual attention during indoor wayfinding, but the roles of salience in visual guidance are mixed across different landmark classes and tasks. The results provide new evidence for understanding how pedestrians visually interpret landmark information during real-world indoor wayfinding.

To site this paper:

Weihua Dong, Tong Qin, Hua Liao, Yu Liu & Jiping Liu (2019) Comparing the roles of landmark visual salience and semantic salience in visual guidance during indoor wayfinding, Cartography and Geographic Information Science.

 DOI: 10.1080/15230406.2019.1697965

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