Investigating Natural Image Pleasantness Recognition using Deep Features and Eye Tracking for Loosely Controlled Human-computer Interaction

Hamed R. Tavakoli, Jorma Laaksonen, Esa Rahtu

This paper revisits recognition of natural image pleasantness by employing deep convolutional neural networks and affordable eye trackers. There exist several approaches to recognize image pleasantness: (1) computer vision, and (2) psychophysical signals. For natural images, computer vision approaches have not been as successful as for abstract paintings and is lagging behind the psychophysical signals like eye movements. Despite better results, the scalability of eye movements is adversely affected by the sensor cost. While the introduction of affordable sensors have helped the scalability issue by making the sensors more accessible, the application of such sensors in a loosely controlled human-computer interaction setup is not yet studied for affective image tagging. On the other hand, deep convolutional neural networks have boosted the performance of vision-based techniques significantly in recent years. To investigate the current status in regard to affective image tagging, we (1) introduce a new eye movement dataset using an affordable eye tracker, (2) study the use of deep neural networks for pleasantness recognition, (3) investigate the gap between deep features and eye movements. To meet these ends, we record eye movements in a less controlled setup, akin to daily human-computer interaction. We assess features from eye movements, visual features, and their combination. Our results show that (1) recognizing natural image pleasantness from eye movement under less restricted setup is difficult and previously used techniques are prone to fail, and (2) visual class categories are strong cues for predicting pleasantness, due to their correlation with emotions, necessitating careful study of this phenomenon. This latter finding is alerting as some deep learning approaches may fit to the class category bias.

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