Assessment of eye-tracking scanpath outliers using fractal geometry

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3 Citations (Scopus)
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Outlier scanpaths identification is a crucial preliminary step in designing visual software, digital media analysis, radiology training and clustering participants in eye-tracking experiments. However, the task is challenging due to the visual irregularity of the scanpath shapes and the difficulty in dimensionality reduction due to geometric complexity. Conventional approaches have used heat maps to exclude scanpaths that lack a similarity pattern. However, the typically-used packages, such as ScanMatch and MultiMatch often generate discordant results when outlier identification is done empirically. This paper introduces a novel outlier evaluation approach by integrating the fractal dimension (FD), capturing the geometrical complexity of patterns, as an additional parameter with the heat map. This additional parameter is used to evaluate the degree of influence of a scanpath within a dataset. More specifically, the 2D Cartesian coordinates of a scanpath are fitted to a space filling 1D fractal curve to characterise its temporal FD. The FDs of the scanpaths are then compared to match their geometric complexity to one another. The findings indicate that the FD can be a beneficial additional parameter when evaluating the candidacy of poorly matching scanpaths as outliers and performs better at identifying unusual scanpaths than using other methods, including scanpath matching, Jaccard, or bounding box methods alone.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere07616
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2021. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • Higuchi fractal dimension
  • Visual scanpath
  • Hilbert curve
  • Outlier
  • Computational neuroscience


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