Skip to main content Skip to main navigation


Neural Photofit: Gaze-based Mental Image Reconstruction

Florian Strohm; Ekta Sood; Sven Mayer; Philipp Müller; Mihai Bâce; Andreas Bulling
In: Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Computer Vision. International Conference on Computer Vision (ICCV-2021), October 11-17, Virtual, Pages 1-10, IEEE, 2021.


We propose a novel method that leverages human fixations to visually decode the image a person has in mind into a photofit (facial composite). Our method combines three neural networks: An encoder, a scoring network, and a decoder. The encoder extracts image features and predicts a neural activation map for each face looked at by a human observer. A neural scoring network compares the human and neural attention and predicts a relevance score for each extracted image feature. Finally, image features are aggregated into a single feature vector as a linear combination of all features weighted by relevance which a decoder decodes into the final photofit. We train the neural scoring network on a novel dataset containing gaze data of 19 participants looking at collages of synthetic faces. We show that our method significantly outperforms a mean baseline predictor and report on a human study that shows that we can decode photofits that are visually plausible and close to the observer’s mental image.