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Proceedings Paper

Psychophysical studies of the performance of an image database retrieval system
Author(s): Thomas V. Papathomas; Tiffany E. Conway; Ingemar J. Cox; Joumana Ghosn; Matt L. Miller; Thomas P. Minka; Peter N. Yianilos
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Paper Abstract

We describe psychophysical experiments conducted to study PicHunter, a content-based image retrieval (CBIR) system. Experiment 1 studies the importance of using (a) semantic information, (2) memory of earlier input and (3) relative, rather than absolute, judgements of image similarity. The target testing paradigm is used in which a user must search for an image identical to a target. We find that the best performance comes from a version of PicHunter that uses only semantic cues, with memory and relative similarity judgements. Second best is use of both pictorial and semantic cues, with memory and relative similarity judgements. Most reports of CBIR systems provide only qualitative measures of performance based on how similar retrieved images are to a target. Experiment 2 puts PicHunter into this context with a more rigorous test. We first establish a baseline for our database by measuring the time required to find an image that is similar to a target when the images are presented in random order. Although PicHunter's performance is measurably better than this, the test is weak because even random presentation of images yields reasonably short search times. This casts doubt on the strength of results given in other reports where no baseline is established.

Paper Details

Date Published: 17 July 1998
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 3299, Human Vision and Electronic Imaging III, (17 July 1998); doi: 10.1117/12.320149
Show Author Affiliations
Thomas V. Papathomas, Rutgers Univ. (United States)
Tiffany E. Conway, Rutgers Univ. (United States)
Ingemar J. Cox, NEC Research Institute (United States)
Joumana Ghosn, Univ. de Montreal (Canada)
Matt L. Miller, NEC Research Institute (United States)
Thomas P. Minka, NEC Research Institute (United States)
Peter N. Yianilos, NEC Research Institute (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 3299:
Human Vision and Electronic Imaging III
Bernice E. Rogowitz; Thrasyvoulos N. Pappas, Editor(s)

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