At the University of Rochesters Brain and Cognitive Science Lab subjects wear lightweight head-mounted eye trackers while they perform an everyday task such as making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Professor Mary Hayhoe found that subjects tended to go about looking at things while performing such tasks in the same way, focusing on the same locations on objects as they gathered information by quickly looking at the various items necessary to perform the task. So while we may have the impression that we see everything at a glance as we look around, in reality its our brain thats putting all the bits of information together to make a complete picture.
In an effort to understand how our brains synthesize visual information, Jeff Pelz, associate professor of imaging science at the Rochester Institute of Technology, has subjects wear a portable eye tracker (see image at left) and then do things like wash their hands. He found that subjects tended to glance ahead to the next item theyll need while theyre doing something else, all the while unaware of such eye movements.