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Michael Zhang, 18, of Saint James, investigated how visual behavior reflects the self-perception of human subjects playing one of four distinctive roles — thief, security guard, cleaning person or tourist — for his Intel Science Talent Search project in behavioral and social science. After roles were assigned, his participants viewed sequences of randomly selected scenes from hotel rooms, beaches, airport terminals and checkout counters while their eye movements were recorded in real time by an eye-tracking system. Through statistical analysis, Michael observed that his subjects demonstrated different visual behaviors, depending on their roles, particularly the security guard and the thief. He believes that there is substantial information contained in eye movements, which could have implications for airport security and marketing techniques. At Smithtown High School East, Michael participates in the Quiz Bowl, Science Olympiads and varsity swimming. He is president of the math team, a peer tutor and violinist in the school orchestra. He also played first violin with the New York All-State String Orchestra. The son of Yueli Zhang and Yanzhen Liu, Michael speaks fluent Chinese and teaches Chinese Chess.
Learn about more Intel STS 2013 finalists.
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