Journal Article Physical Features of Visual Images Affect Macaque Monkey’s Preference for These Images

Funahashi, Shintaro

102016-11-02 , Frontiers Research Foundation
Animals exhibit different degrees of preference toward various visual stimuli. In addition, it has been shown that strongly preferred stimuli can often act as a reward. The aim of the present study was to determine what features determine the strength of the preference for visual stimuli in order to examine neural mechanisms of preference judgment. We used 50 color photographs obtained from the Flickr Material Database (FMD) as original stimuli. Four macaque monkeys performed a simple choice task, in which two stimuli selected randomly from among the 50 stimuli were simultaneously presented on a monitor and monkeys were required to choose either stimulus by eye movements. We considered that the monkeys preferred the chosen stimulus if it continued to look at the stimulus for an additional 6 s and calculated a choice ratio for each stimulus. Each monkey exhibited a different choice ratio for each of the original 50 stimuli. They tended to select clear, colorful and in-focus stimuli. Complexity and clarity were stronger determinants of preference than colorfulness. Images that included greater amounts of spatial frequency components were selected more frequently. These results indicate that particular physical features of the stimulus can affect the strength of a monkey’s preference and that the complexity, clarity and colorfulness of the stimulus are important determinants of this preference. Neurophysiological studies would be needed to examine whether these features of visual stimuli produce more activation in neurons that participate in this preference judgment.

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