Brianna McGee (UC Riverside)
Head and eye coordination during walking and search and retrieval tasks

Naturalistic studies of visual attention have replicated screen based findings of the effects of task demands on visual exploration (Land, Mennie & Rusted, 1999; Hayhoe, Shrivastava, Mruczek & Pelz, 2003). Coordination of eye and head movements is required for most visual exploration in the real world; however, it is unknown how this coordination may differ between tasks. The aim of the current study is to assess differences in eye and head coordination between two everyday activities, walking and searching. 21 first year psychology students (58% female) participated in both a naturalistic walking task and afterwards a search and retrieve task in a large scale outdoor environment. Significant differences were found in both spatial and temporal characteristics of eye movements between these two tasks, such that there was significantly more variability in the average eye position of participants in the walking task (as determined by both entropy of eye gaze and the average standard deviation of vertical eye position) compared to the search and retrieve task. In addition, participants in the walking task made significantly shorter fixations than participants in the search and retrieve task. These results suggest a greater degree of eye and head coordination in the search and retrieve task compared to the walking task.