Color Saliency

Patrik Polatsek, Daniel Nechala

Color is a fundamental component of visual attention. Saliency is usually associated with color contrasts. Besides this bottom-up perspective, some recent works indicate that psychological aspects should be considered too. However, relatively little research has been done on the potential impacts of color psychology on attention. To our best knowledge, a publicly available fixation dataset specialized in color features does not exist. We, therefore, conducted a novel eye-tracking experiment with color stimuli. We studied  fixations of 15 participants to find out whether color differences can reliably model color saliency or particular colors are preferably fixated regardless of scene content, i.e. color prior.

Our experiment confirms that saliency from color contrasts play an important role in attention. An unexpected observation was that the LAB color space could not equally estimate perceived color differences of all participants. Therefore, there are presumably other, memory-related factors, that color vision employs. However, we did not found a significant preference in fixating danger-related colors regardless of distractors. While there was only a negligible dominance for red and yellow, the experiment surprisingly showed significantly less fixations of cyan. Future experiments should therefore use more colors, more participants, and other color spaces for a deeper investigation of the color perception individuality and psychological functioning.

colorSal dataset contains images and fixation data from this eye-tracking experiment.


Please cite this work if you use the dataset:

Polatsek, P. (2019)

Modelling of Human Visual Attention