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Visual Perception Ranking of Chess Players

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Abstract

In this work, we have carried out a performance analysis of chess players comparing a standard ranking measure with a novel one proposed here. Using the idea of treating participants eye movements, when answering several on-screen valid chess questions of distinguished complexities, as high-dimensional spatial attention patterns we have shown that expertise is consistently associated with the ability to process visual information holistically using fewer fixations rather than locally focusing on individual pieces. These findings might disclose new insights for predicting chess skills.

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Spearman's rank correlation coefficient is not entirely suitable for measuring the correlation between two rankings in some applications because it treats all ranks equally. In 2000, Blest proposed an alternative measure of correlation that gives more importance to higher ranks but has some drawbacks. This paper proposes a weighted rank measure of correlation that weights the distance between two ranks using a linear function of those ranks, giving more importance to higher ranks than lower ones. It analyses its distribution and provides a table of critical values to test whether a given value of the coefficient is significantly different from zero. The paper also summarizes a number of applications for which the new measure is more suitable than Spearman's.
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The human visual system responds to expertise, and it has been suggested that regions that process faces also process other objects of expertise including chess boards by experts. We tested whether chess and face processing overlap in brain activity using fMRI. Chess experts and novices exhibited face selective areas, but these regions showed no selectivity to chess configurations relative to other stimuli. We next compared neural responses to chess and to scrambled chess displays to isolate areas relevant to expertise. Areas within the posterior cingulate, orbitofrontal cortex, and right temporal cortex were active in this comparison in experts over novices. We also compared chess and face responses within the posterior cingulate and found this area responsive to chess only in experts. These findings indicate that the configurations in chess are not strongly processed by face-selective regions that are selective for faces in individuals who have expertise in both domains. Further, the area most consistently involved in chess did not show overlap with faces. Overall, these results suggest that expert visual processing may be similar at the level of recognition, but need not show the same neural correlates.
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