Cognitive Vision: Examining Attention, Engagement and Cognitive load via Gaze and EEG

Viral Parekh


Gaze and visual attention are very related. Analysis of gaze and attention can be used for behavior analysis, anticipation or to predict the engagement level of a person. Collectively all these problems fall into the space of cognitive vision systems. As the name suggests it is the intersection of two areas: computer vision and cognition. The goal of the cognitive vision system is to understand the principles of human vision and use them as inspiration to improve machine vision systems. In this thesis, we have focused on Eye gaze and Electroencephalogram (EEG) data to understand and analyze the attention, cognitive workload and demonstrated a few applications like engagement analysis and image annotation. With the presence of ubiquitous devices in our daily lives, effectively capturing and managing user attention becomes a critical device requirement. Gaze-lock detection to sense eye-contact with a device is a useful technique to track user’s interaction with the device. We propose an eye contact detection using a convolutional neural network (CNN) architecture, which achieves superior eye-contact detection performance as compared to state of the art methods with minimal data pre-processing; our algorithm is furthermore validated on multiple datasets, Gaze-lock detection is improved by combining head pose and eye-gaze information consistent with social attention literature. Further, we extend our work to analyze the engagement level in the person with dementia via visual attention. Engagement in dementia is typically measured using behavior observational scales (BOS) that are tedious and involve intensive manual labor to annotate, and are therefore not easily scalable. We propose AVEID, a low-cost and easy to use video-based engagement measurement tool to determine the level of engagement of a person with dementia (PwD) when interacting with a target object. We show that the objective behavioral measures computed via AVEID correlate well with subjective expert impressions for the popular MPES and OME BOS, confirming its viability and effectiveness. Moreover, AVEID measures can be obtained for a variety of engagement designs, thereby facilitating large-scale studies with PwD populations. Analysis of Cognitive load for a given user interface is an important measure of effectiveness or usability. We examine whether EEG-based cognitive load estimation is generalizable across the character, spatial pattern, bar graph and pie chart-based visualizations for the n-back task. Cognitive load is estimated via two recent approaches: (1) Deep convolutional neural network and Proximal support vector machines. Experiments reveal that cognitive load estimation suffers across visualizations suggesting that (a) they may inherently induce varied cognitive processes in users, and (b) effective adaptation techniques are needed to benchmark visual interfaces for usability given pre-defined tasks. Finally, the success of deep learning in computer vision has greatly increased the need for annotated image datasets. We propose an EEG (Electroencephalogram)-based image annotation system. While humans can recognize objects in 20-200 milliseconds, the need to manually label images results in a low annotation throughput. Our system employs brain signals captured via a consumer EEG device to achieve an annotation rate of up to 10 images per second. We exploit the P300 event-related potential (ERP) signature to identify target images during a rapid serial visual presentation (RSVP) task. We further perform unsupervised outlier removal to achieve an F1-score of 0.88 on the test set. The proposed system does not depend on category-specific EEG signatures enabling the annotation of any new image category without any model pre-training.


Year of completion:  July 2018
 Advisor : Prof. C.V. Jawahar and Ramanathan Subramanian

Related Publications

  • Viral Parekh, Ramanathan Subramanian, Dipanjan Roy C.V. Jawahar - An EEG-based Image Annotation System - National Conference on Computer Vision Pattern Recognition, Image Processing and Graphics (NCVPRIPG), 2017 [PDF]