Probing the temporal dynamics of the exploration-exploitation dilemma of eye movements


When scanning a visual scene, we are in a constant decision process regarding whether to further exploit the information content at the current fixation or to go on and explore the scene. In , Ehinger et al. investigated how the experimental control of fixation durations affects the balance between exploiting a current view and exploring the environment by performing a new saccade. To test this, they developed a new paradigm that allows for experimental control over fixation durations and exploration behavior. Using a large Bayesian mixed model, they show an exponential decay in the fixation time and a logarithmic increase in the number of future fixation locations. This shows that sampling and processing of the current stimulus are exhausted for long fixation durations, biasing toward faster exploration.