Computational Techniques for Eye Movements Analysis towards Supporting Early Diagnosis of Alzheimer's Disease: A Review.
ABSTRACT: An opportune early diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease (AD) would help to overcome symptoms and improve the quality of life for AD patients. Research studies have identified early manifestations of AD that occur years before the diagnosis. For instance, eye movements of people with AD in different tasks differ from eye movements of control subjects. In this review, we present a summary and evolution of research approaches that use eye tracking technology and computational analysis to measure and compare eye movements under different tasks and experiments. Furthermore, this review is targeted to the feasibility of pioneer work on developing computational tools and techniques to analyze eye movements under naturalistic scenarios. We describe the progress in technology that can enhance the analysis of eye movements everywhere while subjects perform their daily activities and give future research directions to develop tools to support early AD diagnosis through analysis of eye movements.
Project description:Many daily activities involve intrinsic or extrinsic goal-directed eye and hand movements. An extensive visuomotor coordination network including nigro-striatal pathways is required for efficient timing and positioning of eyes and hands. The aim of this study was to investigate how Parkinson's disease (PD) affects eye-hand coordination in tasks with different cognitive complexity.We used a touch screen, an eye-tracking device and a motion capturing system to quantify changes in eye-hand coordination in early-stage PD patients (H&Y?<?2.5) and age-matched controls. Timing and kinematics of eye and hand were quantified in four eye-hand coordination tasks (pro-tapping, dual planning, anti-tapping and spatial memory task).In the pro-tapping task, saccade initiation towards extrinsic goals was not impaired. However, in the dual planning and anti-tapping task initiation of saccades towards intrinsic goals was faster in PD patients. Hand movements were differently affected: initiation of the hand movement was only delayed in the pro-tapping and dual planning task. Overall, hand movements in PD patients were slower executed compared to controls.Whereas initiation of saccades in an extrinsic goal-directed task (pro-tapping task) is not affected, early stage PD patients have difficulty in suppressing reflexive saccades towards extrinsic goals in tasks where the endpoint is an intrinsic goal (e.g. dual planning and anti-tapping task). This is specific for eye movements, as hand movements have delayed responses in the pro-tapping and dual planning task. This suggests that reported impairment of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex in early-stage PD patients affects only inhibition of eye movements. We conclude that timing and kinematics of eye and hand movements in visuomotor tasks are affected in PD patients. This result may have clinical significance by providing a behavioral marker for the early diagnosis of PD.
Project description:Eye movements, which guide the fovea's high resolution and computational power to relevant areas of the visual scene, are integral to efficient, successful completion of many visual tasks. How humans modify their eye movements through experience with their perceptual environments, and its functional role in learning new tasks, has not been fully investigated. Here, we used a face identification task where only the mouth discriminated exemplars to assess if, how, and when eye movement modulation may mediate learning. By interleaving trials of unconstrained eye movements with trials of forced fixation, we attempted to separate the contributions of eye movements and covert mechanisms to performance improvements. Without instruction, a majority of observers substantially increased accuracy and learned to direct their initial eye movements towards the optimal fixation point. The proximity of an observer's default face identification eye movement behavior to the new optimal fixation point and the observer's peripheral processing ability were predictive of performance gains and eye movement learning. After practice in a subsequent condition in which observers were directed to fixate different locations along the face, including the relevant mouth region, all observers learned to make eye movements to the optimal fixation point. In this fully learned state, augmented fixation strategy accounted for 43% of total efficiency improvements while covert mechanisms accounted for the remaining 57%. The findings suggest a critical role for eye movement planning to perceptual learning, and elucidate factors that can predict when and how well an observer can learn a new task with unusual exemplars.
Project description:Real-world scene perception is typically studied in the laboratory using static picture viewing with restrained head position. Consequently, the transfer of results obtained in this paradigm to real-word scenarios has been questioned. The advancement of mobile eye-trackers and the progress in image processing, however, permit a more natural experimental setup that, at the same time, maintains the high experimental control from the standard laboratory setting. We investigated eye movements while participants were standing in front of a projector screen and explored images under four specific task instructions. Eye movements were recorded with a mobile eye-tracking device and raw gaze data were transformed from head-centered into image-centered coordinates. We observed differences between tasks in temporal and spatial eye-movement parameters and found that the bias to fixate images near the center differed between tasks. Our results demonstrate that current mobile eye-tracking technology and a highly controlled design support the study of fine-scaled task dependencies in an experimental setting that permits more natural viewing behavior than the static picture viewing paradigm.
Project description:Mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), or concussion, occurs following a direct or indirect force to the head that causes a change in brain function. Many neurological signs and symptoms of mTBI can be subtle and transient, and some can persist beyond the usual recovery timeframe, such as balance, cognitive or sensory disturbance that may pre-dispose to further injury in the future. There is currently no accepted definition or diagnostic criteria for mTBI and therefore no single assessment has been developed or accepted as being able to identify those with an mTBI. Eye-movement assessment may be useful, as specific eye-movements and their metrics can be attributed to specific brain regions or functions, and eye-movement involves a multitude of brain regions. Recently, research has focused on quantitative eye-movement assessments using eye-tracking technology for diagnosis and monitoring symptoms of an mTBI. However, the approaches taken to objectively measure eye-movements varies with respect to instrumentation, protocols and recognition of factors that may influence results, such as cognitive function or basic visual function. This review aimed to examine previous work that has measured eye-movements within those with mTBI to inform the development of robust or standardized testing protocols. Medline/PubMed, CINAHL, PsychInfo and Scopus databases were searched. Twenty-two articles met inclusion/exclusion criteria and were reviewed, which examined saccades, smooth pursuits, fixations and nystagmus in mTBI compared to controls. Current methodologies for data collection, analysis and interpretation from eye-tracking technology in individuals following an mTBI are discussed. In brief, a wide range of eye-movement instruments and outcome measures were reported, but validity and reliability of devices and metrics were insufficiently reported across studies. Interpretation of outcomes was complicated by poor study reporting of demographics, mTBI-related features (e.g., time since injury), and few studies considered the influence that cognitive or visual functions may have on eye-movements. The reviewed evidence suggests that eye-movements are impaired in mTBI, but future research is required to accurately and robustly establish findings. Standardization and reporting of eye-movement instruments, data collection procedures, processing algorithms and analysis methods are required. Recommendations also include comprehensive reporting of demographics, mTBI-related features, and confounding variables.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The anti-saccade task, when people must respond in the direction opposite to a visual stimulus, has been used as a marker of operation of the frontal cortical oculomotor area. However, early development of oculomotor control has been little studied with the infant anti-saccade paradigm, and a few studies did not recognize anti-saccades in infants in light of the results of adult anti-saccade. Since the characteristics of infant eye movements are little known, applying the criteria used in adult study is by no means the best way to study infant anti-saccade. As it is indicated that coordinated eye and head movements often enable infants to control the direction of their gaze, head movements should be examined as an infant orienting response. The aim of this study was to address how infants used eye and head movements during the anti-saccade paradigm. To distinguish infants' responses, we also investigated eye and head movements during a task for an inhibition of return. Inhibition of return, in which delayed responses occur in the direction to which attention had previously been oriented, has been thought to mark activity of the superior colliculus. Since the superior colliculus is thought to develop much earlier in life than the frontal lobes, we thought it useful to compare these task performances during infancy. METHODS: Infants were divided into three groups according to age. Anti-saccade and inhibition-of-return tasks were given. Their eye and head movements during tasks were independently recorded by the corneal reflection method in the head-free condition. RESULTS: Younger infants tended to initiate eye movement less than older ones in both tasks. In the anti-saccade task, responses opposite to the cue tended to show longer latency than responses to the cue. Infants made faster responses toward the side opposite the cue when it was to the right than when it was left of fixation. Regarding the comparison of responses toward the side opposite the cue between two tasks, the leftward eye movement was faster than the leftward head movements in the inhibition-of-return task, while no difference of latency was observed between eye and head movements in the anti-saccade task. A qualitative analysis of the trajectory of these responses revealed that head movement trajectories were steeper in the anti-saccade than in the inhibition-of-return task. CONCLUSION: Younger infants move head and eyes together, with head movements frequently starting first. On the other hand, both the leftward latency difference between eye and head and gentle trajectories of head in inhibition of return indicate that eye movements are more predominant over head movements in the inhibition-of-return task than in the anti-saccade task. This would suggest an earlier developing inhibition-of-return mechanism.
Project description:Background: Neurotypical young adults show task-based modulation and stability of their eye movements across tasks. This study aimed to determine whether persons with aphasia (PWA) modulate their eye movements and show stability across tasks similarly to control participants. Methods: Forty-eight PWA and age-matched control participants completed four eye-tracking tasks: scene search, scene memorization, text-reading, and pseudo-reading. Results: Main effects of task emerged for mean fixation duration, saccade amplitude, and standard deviations of each, demonstrating task-based modulation of eye movements. Group by task interactions indicated that PWA produced shorter fixations relative to controls. This effect was most pronounced for scene memorization and for individuals who recently suffered a stroke. PWA produced longer fixations, shorter saccades, and less variable eye movements in reading tasks compared to controls. Three-way interactions of group, aphasia subtype, and task also emerged. Text-reading and scene memorization were particularly effective at distinguishing aphasia subtype. Persons with anomic aphasia showed a reduction in reading saccade amplitudes relative to their respective control group and other PWA. Persons with conduction/Wernicke's aphasia produced shorter scene memorization fixations relative to controls or PWA of other subtypes, suggesting a memorization specific effect. Positive correlations across most tasks emerged for fixation duration and did not significantly differ between controls and PWA. Conclusion: PWA generally produced shorter fixations and smaller saccades relative to controls particularly in scene memorization and text-reading, respectively. The effect was most pronounced recently after a stroke. Selectively in reading tasks, PWA produced longer fixations and shorter saccades relative to controls, consistent with reading difficulty. PWA showed task-based modulation of eye movements, though the pattern of results was somewhat abnormal relative to controls. All subtypes of PWA also demonstrated task-based modulation of eye movements. However, persons with anomic aphasia showed reduced modulation of saccade amplitude and smaller reading saccades, possibly to improve reading comprehension. Controls and PWA generally produced stabile fixation durations across tasks and did not differ in their relationship across tasks. Overall, these results suggest there is potential to differentiate among PWA with varying subtypes and from controls using eye movement measures of task-based modulation, especially reading and scene memorization tasks.
Project description:Over the past decades, the relation between reading skills and eye movement behavior has been well documented in English-speaking cohorts. As English and German differ substantially with regard to orthographic complexity (i.e. grapheme-phoneme correspondence), we aimed to delineate specific characteristics of how reading speed and reading comprehension interact with eye movements in typically developing German-speaking (Austrian) adolescents. Eye movements of 22 participants (14 females; mean age = 13;6 years;months) were tracked while they were performing three tasks, namely silently reading words, texts, and pseudowords. Their reading skills were determined by means of a standardized German reading speed and reading comprehension assessment (Lesegeschwindigkeits- und -verständnistest für Klassen 6-12). We found that (a) reading skills were associated with various eye movement parameters in each of the three reading tasks; (b) better reading skills were associated with an increased efficiency of eye movements, but were primarily linked to spatial reading parameters, such as the number of fixations per word, the total number of saccades and saccadic amplitudes; (c) reading speed was a more reliable predictor for eye movement parameters than reading comprehension; (d) eye movements were highly correlated across reading tasks, which indicates consistent reading performances. Contrary to findings in English-speaking cohorts, the reading skills neither consistently correlated with temporal eye movement parameters nor with the number or percentage of regressions made while performing any of the three reading tasks. These results indicate that, although reading skills are associated with eye movement patterns irrespective of language, the temporal and spatial characteristics of this association may vary with orthographic consistency.
Project description:Film is ubiquitous, but the processes that guide viewers' attention while viewing film narratives are poorly understood. In fact, many film theorists and practitioners disagree on whether the film stimulus (bottom-up) or the viewer (top-down) is more important in determining how we watch movies. Reading research has shown a strong connection between eye movements and comprehension, and scene perception studies have shown strong effects of viewing tasks on eye movements, but such idiosyncratic top-down control of gaze in film would be anathema to the universal control mainstream filmmakers typically aim for. Thus, in two experiments we tested whether the eye movements and comprehension relationship similarly held in a classic film example, the famous opening scene of Orson Welles' Touch of Evil (Welles & Zugsmith, Touch of Evil, 1958). Comprehension differences were compared with more volitionally controlled task-based effects on eye movements. To investigate the effects of comprehension on eye movements during film viewing, we manipulated viewers' comprehension by starting participants at different points in a film, and then tracked their eyes. Overall, the manipulation created large differences in comprehension, but only produced modest differences in eye movements. To amplify top-down effects on eye movements, a task manipulation was designed to prioritize peripheral scene features: a map task. This task manipulation created large differences in eye movements when compared to participants freely viewing the clip for comprehension. Thus, to allow for strong, volitional top-down control of eye movements in film, task manipulations need to make features that are important to narrative comprehension irrelevant to the viewing task. The evidence provided by this experimental case study suggests that filmmakers' belief in their ability to create systematic gaze behavior across viewers is confirmed, but that this does not indicate universally similar comprehension of the film narrative.
Project description:Subjects with PDD excel on certain visuo-spatial tasks, amongst which visual search tasks, and this has been attributed to enhanced perceptual discrimination. However, an alternative explanation is that subjects with PDD show a different, more effective search strategy. The present study aimed to test both hypotheses, by measuring eye movements during visual search tasks in high functioning adult men with PDD and a control group. Subjects with PDD were significantly faster than controls in these tasks, replicating earlier findings in children. Eye movement data showed that subjects with PDD made fewer eye movements than controls. No evidence was found for a different search strategy between the groups. The data indicate an enhanced ability to discriminate between stimulus elements in PDD.
Project description:When retrieving image from memory, humans usually move their eyes spontaneously as if the image were in front of them. Such eye movements correlate strongly with the spatial layout of the recalled image content and function as memory cues facilitating the retrieval procedure. However, how close the correlation is between imagery eye movements and the eye movements while looking at the original image is unclear so far. In this work we first quantify the similarity of eye movements between recalling an image and encoding the same image, followed by the investigation on whether comparing such pairs of eye movements can be used for computational image retrieval. Our results show that computational image retrieval based on eye movements during spontaneous imagery is feasible. Furthermore, we show that such a retrieval approach can be generalized to unseen images.