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Visual Guidance of Natural Behavior  

Mary M. Hayhoe and Rachel A. Lerch

The essentially active nature of vision is revealed in the complex interplay of head, body, and eye movements as humans gather information to guide their actions in the natural visual world. This dynamic perception–action cycle has long been appreciated but has been difficult to investigate due to limitations in the available instrumentation both to measure eye and body movements and to present realistic stimuli in the context of active behavior. Technological developments have opened up a wider range of natural contexts where some degree of experimental control is possible, and the last two decades have ushered in a variety of insights that would otherwise be difficult to achieve in more constrained environments. Within the context of natural vision, humans make continuous sequences of sensorimotor decisions to satisfy behavioral goals, and vision provides the relevant information for making good decisions in order to achieve those goals. The components of a good decision include the task demands, the rewards and costs associated with the task, uncertainty about the state of the world, and information stored in memory. Natural behavior offers a rich domain for investigation, because it is remarkably stable and leads to novel questions, and the behavioral context helps specify the momentary visual computations and their temporal progression.