Learned Region Sparsity and Diversity Also Predicts Visual Attention

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 29 (NIPS 2016)

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Zijun Wei, Hossein Adeli, Minh Hoai Nguyen, Greg Zelinsky, Dimitris Samaras


Learned region sparsity has achieved state-of-the-art performance in classification tasks by exploiting and integrating a sparse set of local information into global decisions. The underlying mechanism resembles how people sample information from an image with their eye movements when making similar decisions. In this paper we incorporate the biologically plausible mechanism of Inhibition of Return into the learned region sparsity model, thereby imposing diversity on the selected regions. We investigate how these mechanisms of sparsity and diversity relate to visual attention by testing our model on three different types of visual search tasks. We report state-of-the-art results in predicting the locations of human gaze fixations, even though our model is trained only on image-level labels without object location annotations. Notably, the classification performance of the extended model remains the same as the original. This work suggests a new computational perspective on visual attention mechanisms and shows how the inclusion of attention-based mechanisms can improve computer vision techniques.