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Kong, Xiaohui (2009) ROLES OF VISUAL WORKING MEMORY, GLOBAL PERCEPTION AND EYE-MOVEMENT IN VISUAL COMPLEX PROBLEM SOLVING. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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In this dissertation, I explore roles of visual working memory, global perception and eye-movement in complex visual problem solving. Four experiments were conducted and two models were built and tested. Experiment one and model one showed that global information plays an important role and there is an interaction between external representation and internal VWM on global information representation. Experiment two and model two showed that this interaction is achieved by encoding global information with eye-movements throughout the duration of solving a problem. A very regular eye-movement pattern is observed in experiment two. Experiment three further tested the hypothesis that this eye-movement pattern is a result of the individual's VWM limitation by measuring the correlation between individual differences in the quantitative features of the eye-movement pattern and VWM size. The second model assumes that global and local information share a unified VWM capacity limitation. In the fourth experiment, I tested this hypothesis along with several alternative hypotheses. Results of the fourth experiment support the unified capacity hypothesis best and thus make a complete story for the interaction between VWM, global information processing and eye-movements in complex visual problem solving. Even with such a limited amount of VWM capacity, human visual cognition is able to solve complex visual problems by keeping a balanced amount of global and local information in VWM. This balance is achieved by eye-movements that encode both types of information into a unified VWM. Thus, although VWM has such a limited capacity, through frequent eye-movements, visual cognition is able to encode complex visual information in a temporal manner. At each instance, the amount of information encoded is limited by the capacity limitation of VWM but the global information encoded can further guide eye-movements to acquire information that is needed to make the next decision.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairSchunn, Christianschunn@pitt.eduSCHUNN
Committee MemberWallstrom, Garrickglw6@pitt.eduGLW6
Committee MemberLewis, Michaelml@sis.pitt.eduCMLEWIS
Committee MemberMunro, Paulpwm@pitt.eduPWM
Committee MemberHirtle, Stephenhirtle@pitt.eduHIRTLE
Date: 30 September 2009
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 4 August 2009
Approval Date: 30 September 2009
Submission Date: 10 August 2009
Access Restriction: 5 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 5 years.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Intelligent Systems
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Cognitive Modeling; Complex Visual Problem Solving; Eye-Movement; Eye-Tracking; Global Perception; Global/Local Visual Information Processing; Traveling Salesman Problem; Visual Working Memory
Other ID:, etd-08102009-155942
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:58
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:48


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