Strategic eye movements are used to support object authentication

Jane Raymond, Scott Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
150 Downloads (Pure)


Authentication is an important cognitive process used to determine whether one’s initial identification of an object is corroborated by additional sensory information. Although authentication is critical for safe interaction with many objects, including food, websites, and valuable documents, the visual orienting strategies used to garner additional sensory data to support authentication remain poorly understood. When reliable visual cues to counterfeit cannot be anticipated, distributing fixations widely across an object’s surface might be useful. However, strategic fixation of specific object-defining attributes would be more efficient and should lead to better authentication performance. To investigate, we monitored eye movements during a repetitive banknote authentication task involving genuine and counterfeit banknotes. Although fixations were distributed widely across the note prior to authentication decisions, preference for hard-to mimic areas and avoidance of easily mimicked areas was evident. However, there was a strong tendency to initially fixate the banknote’s portrait, and only thereafter did eye movement control appear to be more strategic. Those who directed a greater proportion of fixations at hard-to-mimic areas and resisted more easily mimicked areas performed better on the authenticity task. The tendency to deploy strategic fixation improved with experience, suggesting that authentication benefits from precise visual orienting and refined categorisation criteria
Original languageEnglish
Article number2424
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 20 Feb 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Decision Sciences
  • General Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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