Article

Selective attention in the news feed: An eye-tracking study on the perception and selection of political news posts on Facebook

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Abstract

Social networking sites such as Facebook are becoming increasingly important as a source for news. However, few studies have investigated what drives attention to content within the news feed and what influences the selection of news posts. We hypothesized that attitude consistency, the credibility of a source, and comments of other users raise interest in a news post in the news feed and influence the selection decision. A 2 × 2 × 2 laboratory experiment (N = 103) using eye-tracking measurement showed that attitude consistency did not influence attention distribution in the news feed, but users preferred to select news posts with content reinforcing their attitudes. Participants spent more time with news posts from sources with high credibility and selected them more frequently. Comments were not relevant for selection but were for attention within the news feed: If the news post and the comment did not share the same opinion, readers spent more time reading the content.

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... On social media, community cues can effectively supplant editorial cues, resulting in what Westwood (2014, p. 1045) refer to as the 'socialization of the news consumption process.' A small but growing body of experimental research has examined the extent to which community cues guide users' interaction with news online (Dvir-Gvirsman, 2019;Messing & Westwood, 2014;Pierce et al., 2017;Sülflow et al., 2019;Winter, 2018;Winter et al., 2015). The findings of this literature reveal three key trends that motivate our research design. ...
... In this study, we focus on characteristics of Facebook posts (i.e., comments) because user characteristics tend not to influence attention to Facebook news posts. Studies measuring news attention on Facebook find no correlation between users' attention to news posts and their self-reported interest in certain news genres (Vraga et al., 2019) or political leanings (Sülflow et al., 2019). The latter study does find, however, that when the ideological slant of the first comment is in contrast with the leaning of the news post, one's attention to the post increases. ...
... Further supporting Hypothesis 3, Bright (2016) finds evidence of a 'social news gap' where news of more controversial nature (including politics, disasters, and crime) are less shared, but more read, than news on social welfare, science, and technology. In this social news gap, controversial news tends to drive reading and sharing behavior in line with the research outlined above; however, it also causes us to question whether the findings of previous research are biased towards news topics with societal 'gravitas': marijuana legislation (Winter et al., 2015), elections (Pierce et al., 2017), media coverage about suicide (Winter, 2018), and the refugee crisis in Germany (Sülflow et al., 2019). ...
Article
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Previous research demonstrates that conflict framing in news articles can influence individuals' attention, selection, and distribution of news. However, no study has examined whether the valence of social media comment fields can trigger similar effects for news engagement on Facebook. In this mixed-methods study, we combine eye tracking with surveys, and conduct an experiment in which participants (n = 96) were exposed to 20 Facebook news posts from the Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet. Under each post, we presented participants with a pair of real (but anonymized) Facebook comments that were either in agreement or disagreement with one another. We then examined how this manipulation influenced participants' visual attention to comment fields, their self-reported likelihood to click on the post to read the full story, and their self-reported likelihood to share the news post to their Facebook network. Our results show that comments in disagreement increased users' visual attention to comments, decreased their likelihood to share the post, and had no effect on their likelihood to read the news article associated with the post. Thus, the presence of disagreement in comments does cue news engagement on Facebook, but the effect is not uniform across different news engagement behaviors. Moreover, engagement with hard versus soft news topics also varied. Disagreement in comments to Facebook posts about soft news topics (Entertainment, Society, and Sports) increased users' attention to the comments field. In contrast, comment disagreement for hard news topics (Economy and Politics) reduced users' attention to the comment field, as well as their self-reported likelihood to read the post. ARTICLE HISTORY
... One may argue that although users stumble upon attitude-inconsistent news on Facebook, they might pay less attention to them compared to consonant information. An eye-tracking study by Sülflow, Schäfer, and Winter (2019) gives some indication that this seems not to be the case. By measuring how long 93 participants fixated on news posts in a mock-up news feed, they found no differences between pro-and counter-attitudinal posts. ...
... The previously cited eye-tracking study by Sülflow et al. (2019) confirmed that people are more likely to select articles from credible news brands such as the German legacy newspapers Sueddeutsche Zeitung and Die Zeit compared to less credible sources (η 2 p = .28). Interestingly, albeit they found that consistency of news-slant and own attitude did not lead to more attention in terms of fixation time, participants were more likely to select and read consonant news stories (η 2 p = .12). ...
... Moreover, several authors deduced from in-depth interviews that strong ties, particularly those who are well-read and regarded as opinion leaders in a certain field, act as secondary gatekeepers for engagement with news articles (Bergström & Jervelycke Belfrage, 2018;Boczkowski et al., 2018;Kümpel, 2018). Contrary to the findings of Sülflow et al. (2019) and the Reuters Institute Digital News Report (Hölig & Hasebrink, 2018;Newman et al., 2019), the news brand was of no concern for interviewees in studies by Kümpel (2018) and Bergström and Jervelycke Belfrage (2018). Instead, they appreciated that by sharing and even more by commenting on articles, their Facebook friends 76 2. 3. News Consumption on Facebook re-contextualize the news content (Bergström & Jervelycke Belfrage, 2018;Boczkowski et al., 2018). ...
Thesis
Social networking sites have become an online realm where users are exposed to news about current affairs. People mainly encounter news incidentally because they are re-distributed by users whom they befriended or follow on social media platforms. In my dissertation project, I draw on shared reality theory in order to examine the question of how the relationship to the news endorser, the person who shares news content, determines social influence on opinion formation about shared news. The shared reality theory posits that people strive to achieve socially shared beliefs about any object and topic because of the fundamental epistemic need to establish what is real. Social verification of beliefs in interpersonal communication renders uncertain and ambiguous individual perceptions as valid and objectively true. However, reliable social verification may be provided only by others who are regarded as epistemic authority, in other words as someone whose judgment one can trust. People assign epistemic authority particularly to socially close others, such as friends and family, or to members of their in-group. I inferred from this that people should be influenced by the view of a socially close news endorser when forming an opinion about shared news content but not by the view of a socially distant news endorser. In Study 1, a laboratory experiment (N = 226), I manipulated a female news endorser’s social closeness by presenting her as an in-group or out-group member. Participants’ opinion and memory of a news article were not affected by the news endorser’s opinion in either of the conditions. I concluded that the news article did not elicit motivation to strive for shared reality because participants were confident about their own judgment. Therefore, they did not rely on the news endorser’s view when forming an opinion about the news topic. Moreover, the results revealed that participants had stronger trust in the news endorser when she expressed a positive (vs. negative) opinion about the news topic, while social closeness to the news endorser did not predict trust. On the one hand, this is in line with the social norm of sharing positive thoughts and experiences on social networking sites: adherence to the positivity norm results in more favorable social ratings. On the other hand, my findings indicate that participants generally had a positive opinion about the topic of the stimulus article and thus had more trust in news endorsers who expressed a similar opinion. In Study 2, an online experiment (N = 1, 116), I exposed participants to a news post by a relational close vs. relational distant news endorser by having them name a close or distant actual Facebook friend. There was a small influence of the news endorser’s opinion on participants’ thought and opinion valence irrespective of whether the news endorser was a close or distant friend. The finding was surprising, particularly because participants reported stronger trust in the view of the close friend than in the view of a distant friend. I concluded that in light of an ambiguity eliciting news article, people may even rely on the views of less trustworthy news endorsers in order to establish a socially shared and, therefore, valid opinion about a news topic. Drawing on shared reality theory, I hypothesized that social influence on opinion formation is mediated by news endorser congruent responses to a news post. The results indicated a tendency for the proposed indirect relation however, the effect size was small and the sample in Study 2 was not large enough to provide the necessary statistical power to detect the mediation. In conclusion, the results of my empirical studies provide first insights regarding the conditions under which a single news endorser influences opinion formation about news shared on social networking sites. I found limited support for shared reality creation as underlying mechanism of such social influence. Thus, my work contributes to the understanding of social influence on news perception happening in social networking sites and proposes theoretical refinements to shared reality theory. I suggest that future research should focus on the role of social and affiliative motivation for social influences on opinion formation about news shared on social networking sites.
... The mock website paradigm has been established as a standard in experimental selective exposure research and is called the "current state of the art" (Leiner et al., 2016, p. 203), not least because it closely resembles the actual selection in several online contexts, for example, when selecting results from a search engine results page, choosing posts from a social network site's (SNS's) news feed, or picking out articles from a news site. As such, mock website experiments have been employed in a variety of online media contexts such as news magazines (Knobloch-Westerwick & Meng, 2011), blogs (Winter & Krämer, 2012), search engines (Knobloch-Westerwick, Mothes, Johnson, Westerwick, & Donsbach, 2015;Unkel & Haas, 2017), news aggregators (Sundar, Knobloch-Westerwick, & Hastall, 2007;Winter & Krämer, 2014), and social media (Messing & Westwood, 2014;Sülflow, Schäfer, & Winter, 2018). ...
... (3) Furthermore, we employ cursor tracking on the hub page. In lab studies, eye-tracking methods are most commonly used to investigate the viewing patterns of websites during selection tasks (e.g., Sülflow et al., 2018;Vraga, Bode, & Troller-Renfree, 2016). However, studies have shown that cursor movements may act as a proxy for gaze positions (Guo & Agichtein, 2010;Huang, White, & Dumais, 2011;Rodden, Fu, Aula, & Spiro, 2008). ...
Article
The mock website paradigm has been established as a methodological standard for experimental selective exposure research. To date, despite the amount of empirical research utilizing mock website experiments, no openly accessible practical implementations tailored to the needs of communication scholars exist. In this paper, we first review extant implementations of mock website experiments in selective exposure research and outline the methodological shortcomings. We then outline a procedure to conduct mock website experiments that addresses these shortcomings using only freely available software and that does not restrict participants to specific devices nor require additional software to be installed. Additionally, it can be employed and easily adapted without further programming knowledge as all scripts are published open-source on GitHub. We also demonstrate an application of the procedure by outlining a study on selective exposure to search engine content (N = 1,187). Further applications and limitations of the procedure are discussed.
... Firstly, the Internet has become one of the major sources for news (Cassidy, 2007). Secondly, social networking sites (SNS) have become a popular platform for accessing and consuming news (Sülflow, Schäfer, & Winter, 2019) and these shape a new culture of accessing news via multiple platforms (Kim, Newth, & Christen, 2014) in today's digital society. Thirdly, the backbone to this development is the use of mobile technologies which have enabled easy access to news anywhere and anytime (You, Lee, Lee, & Kang, 2013). ...
... A later study by Fletcher and Park (2017) emphasised on the importance of credibility in determining news source preferences as well as online news participation behaviour. In another study, Sülflow et al. (2019) examined audience's selections on social media and found that online newsreaders tend to spend more time with online news sources that offer higher credibility of news than others. Meanwhile, an even more recent study found that a more credible media has the potential to displace a less credible one (Omar & Ahrari, 2020). ...
Article
Full-text available
Online news is often associated with high interactivity but low credibility. The increase in online news consumption suggests that people turn to the Internet for news because of the attractiveness of digital media even though some content is less than credible. Does web interactivity outweigh news credibility? This study aims to uncover which factor has a greater effect on how people consume online news in Malaysia; a country known for its media control. Using purposive sampling to recruit Malaysian news audience, we conducted an online survey on 520 respondents and later used Partial Least Squares-Structural Equation Modelling (PLS-SEM) to analyse the data. The findings show that both interactivity and credibility were significant predictors to people's positive attitude towards online news and its consumption. The strength of the relationship linking credibility and news consumption was higher than the relationship between interactivity and news consumption. We also found that attitude towards online news was a significant mediator for both relationships; suggesting its influence on the increasing use of the Internet for news. Our data confirmed the importance of web interactivity and news credibility. However, news credibility is of greater importance than interactivity in predicting online news consumption among Malaysians. Finally, implications of the study are discussed in relation to the practice of media control and the threat of fake news dissemination on social media in Malaysia.
... Some studies, particularly within journalism studies, have looked at sharing and commenting news from a Uses and Gratifications perspective, for example, focusing on how the use of news on social media platforms is connected to commenting on news on SNS and beyond . Others have been examining the relation between active use of social media and the links to political participation (Boulianne, 2015), or how credibility affects what we choose to click on while scrolling Facebook (Sülflow et al., 2019) and what kinds of news we share on SNS (Kalsnes and Larsson, 2018). However, as Kümpel et al. (2015) rightly claim, there is a lack of theory-building and of understanding of the cultural and situational contexts in which audience members share information. ...
Article
Full-text available
In this article, we develop the concept of small acts of engagement (SAOE) in a networked media environment as a conceptual framework to study specific audience practices and as an agenda for research on these practices. We define SAOE, such as liking, sharing, and commenting, as productive audience practices that require little investment and are intentionally more casual than the structural and laborious practices examined as types of produsage and convergence culture. We further elaborate on the interpretive and productive aspects of SAOE, which allow us to reconnect the notions of a participatory culture and a culture of everyday agency. Our central argument is that audience studies’ perspective allows viewing SAOE as practices of everyday audience agency, which, on an aggregate level, have the potential to become powerful acts of resistance.
... Es así cómo las noticias falsas pueden tributar a la dificultad de las personas para someter a escrutinio crítico la información que reciben, convocando al convencimiento de su veracidad y reafirmando persistentemente sus creencias sesgadas. Empíricamente se ha evidenciado que los usuarios de redes sociales prefieren seleccionar publicaciones de noticias que coinciden con sus opiniones previas (Sülflow et al., 2019), sin embargo, la difusión generalizada de noticias falsas tiene el potencial de penetrar en el sistema de creencias incluso cuando son inconsistentes con la ideología política del lector . Conclusiones que son congruentes con la idea de que la repetición de noticias falsas aumenta la legitimidad percibida sobre las mismas, puesto que las creencias suelen ser actualizadas conforme el comportamiento deshonesto se hace más frecuente (Garrett et al., 2016). ...
Article
Full-text available
The dissemination of fake news embodies a pressing problem for democracy that is exacerbated by theubiquity of information available on the Internet and by the exploitation of those who, appealing to theemotionality of audiences, have capitalized on the injection of falsehoods into the social fabric. In thisstudy, through a cross-sectional, correlational and non-experimental design, the relationship betweencredibility in the face of fake news and some types of dysfunctional thoughts was explored in a sampleof Chilean university students. The results reveal that greater credibility in fake news is associated withhigher scores of magical, esoteric and naively optimistic thinking, beliefs that would be the meetingpoint for a series of cognitive biases that operate in the processing of information. The highest correlationis found with the paranormal beliefs facet and, particularly, with ideas about the laws of mentalattraction, telepathy and clairvoyance. Significant differences were also found in credibility in fake newsas a function of the gender of the participants, with the female gender scoring higher on average thanthe male gender. These findings highlight the need to promote critical thinking, skepticism and scientificattitude in all segments of society.
... Since 2005, reading news through Internet has been recognised as a regular practices or routines among the public (Hashim, Hasan, & Meloche, 2009). Current trend in news consumption shows that; Internet has become one of the major sources for news (Cassidy, 2007), social networking sites (SNS) has turned into a popular platform for news access and consumption (Sülflow, Schäfer, & Winter, 2019) and the backbone to this development is the use of mobile technologies which allow easy access to news anywhere and anytime (You, Lee, Lee, & Kang, 2013). This switch from traditional print to online news has also been projected in many studies (e.g. ...
Conference Paper
The 6th International SEARCH Conference 2019 Proceedings
... For example, one post mentioned that sales numbers of diet products are declining, while another post announced a statement of a politician about the usage of sweetener in food without mentioning details about that statement. All news posts came from prestigious and credible German news outlets that were chosen based on previous findings(Sülflow, Schäfer, & Winter, 2019;Winter, 2013). These were Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Zeit, Spiegel Online, Stimulus Version A (control group): 10 news posts without any information about the topic of the study. ...
Article
Research indicates that using social network sites as a source for news increases perceived knowledge even if, objectively, people fail to acquire knowledge. This might result from the frequent repetition of topics in news posts caused by multiple news outlets posting about the same news topics and the algorithm that favors similar postings. These repeated encounters can have a positive effect on the perception of knowing more, even if actual learning hardly occurs. An experiment (N = 810, representative of German Internet users) tested these assumptions. Participants were assigned to one of four groups and received a news feed with no information, few news posts, many news posts, or a full-length news article. Results indicate that many news posts increased perceived knowledge that is not paralleled by a gain in factual knowledge. Perceived knowledge mediates effects of reading many news posts on more extreme attitudes and the willingness for discussions. Even if participants who read the news article gained factual knowledge, they did not feel more knowledgeable than participants who were exposed to a news feed containing news posts. The results emphasize the meaning of engaging with full news articles, both for learning facts and for more accurate knowledge assessments.
... Common patterns in which individuals interact with their social media have been identified through eye-tracking studies, examining information processing and attention to components of social media messages (Cipresso et al., 2019;Hussain et al., 2019). One study showed users pay attention to the source of a Facebook news post and use this information as a criterion for the decision to read or to skip the post, revealing that users spend more time looking at posts from highly credible sources compared to sources with lower credibility (Sülflow et al., 2018). A gap in the literature includes whether different source types influence source trust. ...
Article
Full-text available
Growing evidence points to the significant amount of health misinformation on social media platforms, requiring users to assess the believability of messages and trustworthiness of message sources. This mixed methods experimental study fills this gap in research by examining social media users' (n = 53) trust assessment of simulated cancer-related messages using eye-tracking, surveys, and cognitive interviews. Posts varied by information veracity (evidence-based vs. non-evidence-based) and source type (government agency, health organization, lay individual); topics included HPV vaccination and sun safety. Among sources, participants reported trusting the government more than individuals, regardless of veracity. When viewing non-evidence-based messages, participants reported higher trust in health organizations than individuals. Participants with high trust in message source tended to report high message believability. Furthermore, attention (measured by total fixation duration) spent on viewing the source of the post was not associated with the amount of trust in the source of message, which suggests that participants may have utilized other cognitive heuristics when processing the posts. Through post-experiment interviews, participants described higher trust in government due to reputation and familiarity. Further verification of the quality of information is needed to combat the spread of misinformation on Facebook. Future research should consider messaging strategies that include sources that are already trusted and begin to build trust among other credible sources.
... In a situation, however, where an indefinite number of choices are available to users, exposure frequency and time appear to become subordinate measures of a preceding stage of selective exposure when "people assign (visual) attention according to their own (political) self and the information they are presented with" (Marquart, Matthes, andRapp 2016, 2576). In other words, the great number of choices available in a newsfeed shapes exposure patterns more strongly towards an initially quick skimming of information along the lines of selective perception and attention (Bode, Vraga, and Troller-Renfree 2017;Sülflow, Schäfer, and Winter 2019). We therefore suggest differentiating between two stages of selective exposure on social media: First-level selective exposure describes the attention dedicated to a post while browsing a newsfeed. ...
Article
Full-text available
On social media, journalistic news products compete with entertainment-oriented and user-generated contents on two different stages of news use: First, users navigate their attention through a continuous stream of information in their newsfeed and, second, they potentially click on some of these posts to spend time with the actual full-contents. The present study conceptualizes these two types of news use behaviors in social media environments as first- and second-level selective exposure. Based on this new approach, we investigated main drivers of journalistic news exposure on both exposure levels in an online survey experiment before the German federal election in 2017 (N = 210). To achieve high ecological validity, we developed a Newsfeed Exposure Observer (NEO)-Framework to recreate realistic user settings for online experiments studying selective exposure in the digital era, where news posts are complemented by popularity cues like social endorsements or individual recommendations. Findings show that, at the first level of selective exposure, attention to journalistic news posts is particularly affected by political interest. However, the decision to click on posts in the newsfeed and to spend time with the linked contents seems more strongly driven by social factors than by individual predispositions.
... Our findings complement prior findings that news posts from credible sources receive more gaze attention [13] and that false news tend to be read more quickly than accurate news [6]. However, none of the above studies is done on headlines, and, to our knowledge, we present the first factuality inference model to be trained exclusively on eye-tracked data. ...
Preprint
Full-text available
We study whether it is possible to infer if a news headline is true or false using only the movement of the human eyes when reading news headlines. Our study with 55 participants who are eye-tracked when reading 108 news headlines (72 true, 36 false) shows that false headlines receive statistically significantly less visual attention than true headlines. We further build an ensemble learner that predicts news headline factuality using only eye-tracking measurements. Our model yields a mean AUC of 0.688 and is better at detecting false than true headlines. Through a model analysis, we find that eye-tracking 25 users when reading 3-6 headlines is sufficient for our ensemble learner.
... Our findings complement prior findings that news posts from credible sources receive more gaze attention [13] and that false news tend to be read more quickly than accurate news [6]. However, none of the above studies is done on headlines, and, to our knowledge, we present the first factuality inference model to be trained exclusively on eye-tracked data. ...
... Die hohe interne Validität von Laborexperimenten ist deren zentraler Vorteil, weshalb sich diese in der politischen Kommunikationsforschung häufig finden (z. B. Hooghe et al. 2010;Kruikemeier et al. 2018;Maurer 2009;Sülflow et al. 2019;Swigger 2012). Allerdings entsteht so auch eine künstliche Untersuchungsumgebung, die kaum noch mit der Realität vergleichbar ist (Campbell und Stanley 1963). ...
... Contemporary society is undergoing a post-truth era, wherein information consumers are bombarded with misinformation and disinformation, especially in times when the need for accurate information is high (Kim et al. 2020;Lewandowsky, Ecker, and Cook 2017;McIntyre 2018). Under such circumstances, information avoidance may be viewed as a coping mechanism that allows individuals to manage their emotional responses to threats or hazards (Hameleers, Bos, and de Vreese 2018;Sülflow, Schäfer, and Winter 2019). For instance, anxiety or worry can lead to specific information avoidance behaviors such as selective exposure, which is exposing oneself only to information that is congruent with one's existing views (Song 2017;Valentino et al. 2009). ...
... Because we perceive our environment visually and gain salient information this way, it helps us to perform essential tasks (Tatler et al., 2014, p. 4), including political decision-making. Because cognitive processes, including attention, are so closely linked to gaze fixation, we follow previous research, using fixation time as a proxy for attention (e.g Marquart et al., 2016;Sülflow et al., 2019). Importantly, however, eye tracking does not provide information about the underlying processes that caused fixation (e.g. ...
Preprint
Full-text available
What role does political governance institution (i.e. the local, national, and European governance level) play for political attention? Using eye tracking in a laboratory experiment (N = 63), we pioneer a study into exploring the role of governance institution on attention to political news, holding political content constant. We find that fixation time significantly increases when reading about the EU compared to the national and local governance institutions. The political topic (here immigration and climate) only has a significant impact as an interaction e↵ect with the national and local levels. Sex and attitudes to EU integration play no significant role. We discuss these findings, including the prospects and limitations using eye tracking in political science research.
... To gain a better understanding of the psychological underpinnings that cause such differences, future studies should further explore the experimental variation of sources' names, appearance, and content in a combination with open-ended probing questions. Eye tracking could provide a fruitful way to measure to what extent individuals perceive and discern different signals (Sülflow et al., 2019). ...
Article
The increasing spread of false stories (“fake news”) represents one of the great challenges societies face in the 21st century. A little-understood aspect of this phenomenon and of the processing of online news in general is how sources influence whether people believe and share what they read. In contrast to the predigital era, the Internet makes it easy for anyone to imitate well-known and credible sources in name and appearance. In a preregistered survey experiment, we first investigate the effect of this contrast (real vs. fake source) and find that subjects, as expected, have a higher tendency to believe and a somewhat higher propensity to share news by real sources. We then expose subjects to a number of reports manipulated in content (congruent vs. incongruent with individuals’ attitudes), which reveals our most crucial finding. As predicted, people are more likely to believe a news report by a source that has previously given them congruent information. However, this only holds if the source is fake. We further use machine learning to uncover treatment heterogeneity. Effects vary most strongly for different levels of trust in the mainstream media and having voted for the populist right.
... However, as studies on literal eyeballs, using eye-tracking methods, have shown, people do not always remember what they see on social networking sites even immediately after exposure (Vraga et al., 2016). People may also read content more if the content and its replies demonstrate different opinions (Sülflow et al., 2018). ...
Article
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The new high-choice media environment has raised concerns that users of social networking sites primarily select political information that supports their political opinions and avoid information that challenges them. This behaviour is reinforced by personalisation algorithms that create filter bubbles and both narrow the available content and exclude challenging information over time. These concerns have, however, been contested. This article challenges the underlying theoretical assumptions about filter bubbles, and compares filter bubbles to what we already know about selective exposure and human psychology. The article lists nine counterarguments to the filter bubble thesis. In short, I argue that the assumptions of filter bubbles contradict many of the previous findings of selective exposure research. More specifically, when discussing filter bubbles there is a risk of confusing two arguments: one strong - but also trivial - that is about technology (e.g., personalisation leads to different information), and one weak and speculative - but also the most interesting - that is about society (e.g., personalisation increases political polarisation in society). © 2021 Nordicom and respective authors. This is an Open Access work licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public licence (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0). To view a copy of the licence, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
... Communication within social networks delivers various stimuli, in the form of messages, visual elements, videos, textual messages, news, and rumours, and these can be repeated 11 . Users overloaded with new content use selective attention mechanisms to filter out irrelevant or unwanted information 20 . Repeated messages deliver a lower response when the audience is overloaded with marketing content and other information, thus perceiving advertising clutter 21 . ...
Article
Full-text available
Information spreading processes are a key phenomenon observed within real and digital social networks. Network members are often under pressure from incoming information with different sources, such as informative campaigns for increasing awareness, viral marketing, rumours, fake news, or the results of other activities. Messages are often repeated, and such repetition can improve performance in the form of cumulative influence. Repeated messages may also be ignored due to a limited ability to process information. Learning processes are leading to the repeated messages being ignored, as their content has already been absorbed. In such cases, responsiveness decreases with repetition, and the habituation effect can be observed. Here, we analyse spreading processes while considering the habituation effect and performance drop along with an increased number of contacts. The ability to recover when reducing the number of messages is also considered. The results show that even low habituation and a decrease in propagation probability may substantially impact network coverage. This can lead to a significant reduction in the potential for a seed set selected with an influence maximisation method. Apart from the impact of the habituation effect on spreading processes, we show how it can be reduced with the use of the sequential seeding approach. This shows that sequential seeding is less sensitive to the habituation effect than single-stage seeding, and that it can be used to limit the negative impact on users overloaded with incoming messages.
... Researchers can measure visual attention of SM users' in these "routes" of persuasion through eye-tracking methodology, which gives insight into users' attention to various components of a message [25]. For example, one study measured attention through total fixation duration (a common eye-tracking metric defined as a stable gaze of more than 80 ms) and highlighted that participants paid attention to the source when looking at a news post and used this information as a criterion for the decision to read or to skip the news post [26]. Although reliance on source cues has been conceptualized as a lower-effort mode of information processing when it comes to message persuasion [23], source credibility plays a prominent role in message assessment when other information that may be used to judge the actual quality of a text is limited [27]. ...
Article
The ability to share and obtain health information on social media (SM) places higher burden on individuals to evaluate the believability of such health messages given the growing nature of misinformation circulating on SM. Message features (i.e., format, veracity), message source, and an individual's health literacy all play significant roles in how a person evaluates health messages on SM. This study assesses how message features and SM users' health literacy predict assessment of message believability and time spent looking at simulated Facebook messages. SM users (N = 53) participated in a mixed methods experimental study, using eye-tracking technology, to measure relative time and message believability. Measures included individual health literacy, message format (narrative/non-narrative), and information veracity (evidence-based/non-evidence-based). Results showed individuals with adequate health literacy rated evidence-based posts as more believable than non-evidence-based posts. Additionally, individuals with limited health literacy spent more relative time on the source compared to individuals with adequate health literacy. Public health and health communication efforts should focus on addressing myths and misinformation found on SM. Additionally, the source of message may be equally important when evaluating messages on SM, and strategies should identify reliable sources to prevent limited health literate individuals from falling prey to misinformation.
... Ein geeignetes Thema sollte deshalb nicht zu stark medial thematisiert worden sein. (Sülflow, Schäfer, & Winter, 2018;Winter, 2013 Dennoch hätte ein Online-Artikel, der die gleiche Menge an Informationen wie die Snack-News-Gruppen vermittelt, zu große Einschränkungen für die externe Validität bedeutet. In der Realität ist es nämlich nicht so, dass lediglich das Format variiert, wenn man sich beispielsweise bei Facebook oder auf einer Nachrichtenseite informiert. ...
Book
Durch das Internet hat sich der Zugang zu Nachrichten maßgeblich verändert. Informationen stehen nicht nur unbegrenzt zur Verfügung, sondern sie sind auch zu einem omnipräsenten Bestandteil in digitalen Informationsumgebungen geworden. Dadurch werden Internetnutzer*innen, auch ohne bewusst danach zu suchen, wiederholt mit tagesaktuellen Schlagzeilen konfrontiert, z.B. wenn sie ihren Browser öffnen, oder sich auf sozialen Netzwerkseiten bewegen. Diese kurzen Nachrichtenkontakte haben aufgrund der geringen Informationsmenge wenig Potential für Lerneffekte, können jedoch das Gefühl vermitteln, sich mit einem Thema auszukennen. Vor diesem Hintergrund stellt sich die Frage, inwiefern Nachrichten in digitalen Informationsumgebungen die Entstehung einer Wissensillusion begünstigen, wie sich dieser Prozess erklären lässt und mit welchen Folgen dies verbunden ist. Im theoretischen Teil der Arbeit werden dazu Erkenntnisse zum Gedächtnis, dem Metagedächtnis und der Rolle von Medien für Wissen und Wissenswahrnehmung aufgearbeitet. In Studie 1 wird mit einer experimentellen Studie untersucht, wie sich Nachrichten auf sozialen Netzwerkseiten im Vergleich zu vollständigen Nachrichtenartikeln auf objektives und subjektives Wissen auswirken. Außerdem werden Effekte einer Wissensillusion für Einstellungen und Verhalten untersucht. Studie 2 untersucht mit qualitativen Leitfadeninterviews, welche Rolle Medien für Wissen und Lernen aus Sicht der Nutzer*innen spielen. Diese Erkenntnisse liefern Erklärungen dafür, weshalb und aufgrund welcher Merkmale unterschiedliche Nachrichtenkontakte eine Wissensillusion begünstigen können.
... Communication within social networks delivers various stimuli, in the form of messages, visual elements, videos, textual messages, news, and rumours, and these can be repeated 11 . Users overloaded with new content use selective attention mechanisms to filter out irrelevant or unwanted information 20 . Repeated messages deliver a lower response when the audience is overloaded with marketing content and other information, thus perceiving advertising clutter 21 . ...
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Information spreading processes are a key phenomenon observed within real and digital social networks. Network members are often under pressure from incoming information with different sources, such as informative campaigns for increasing awareness, viral marketing, rumours, fake news, or the results of other activities. Messages are often repeated, and such repetition can improve performance in the form of cumulative influence. Repeated messages may also be ignored due to a limited ability to process information. Learning processes are leading to the repeated messages being ignored, as their content has already been absorbed. In such cases, responsiveness decreases with repetition, and the habituation effect can be observed. Here, we analyse spreading processes while considering the habituation effect and performance drop along with an increased number of contacts. The the ability to recover when reducing the number of messages is also considered. The results show that even low habituation and a decrease in propagation probability may substantially impact network coverage. This can lead to a significant reduction in the potential for a seed set selected with an influence maximisation method. Apart from the impact of the habituation effect on spreading processes, we show how it can be reduced with the use of the sequential seeding approach. This shows that sequential seeding is less sensitive to the habituation effect than single-stage seeding, and that it can be used to limit the negative impact on users overloaded with incoming messages.
... Otro avance innovador de esta investigación es que estudia específicamente la participación de la audiencia en las noticias sobre las principales causas externas de muerte, cuando hasta ahora los artículos publicados se han centrado más en un análisis de la participación de los lectores en general (Toepfl y Litvinenko, 2021;Hille y Bakker, 2017;Netzer, Tenenboim-Weinblatt y Shifman, 2014) o bien en una reacción relacionada con un enfoque de carácter político (Kenski, Coe y Rains, 2020;Sülflow, Schäfer y Winter, 2019;Kalogeropoulos, Negredo, Picone y Nielsen, 2017) Este extremo es especialmente importante ya que la motivación del usuario para interactuar con la noticia depende del interés que suscite el tema de la misma (Kümpel, 2019). ...
Article
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En este estudio se analiza la participación de los lectores en noticias sobre siniestros en los medios digitales españoles. El trabajo compara el número de veces que se indica “me gusta”, “compartido” y “comentado” en las noticias sobre los principales sucesos de muertes por causa externa: accidentes de tráfico, caídas, ahogamientos y suicidios. Para ello, se han recopilado piezas periodísticas del periodo 2010-2017 a través de la hemeroteca Mynewsonline. Se ha llevado a cabo un análisis de contenido en una muestra representativa de noticias (n=4.733), donde se ha medido el número de reacciones para cada noticia en los seis principales medios de comunicación digitales españoles (elpais.com, elmundo.es, abc.es, lavanguardia.com, elconfidencial.com y 20minutos.es). Se ha estudiado también la relación de esta participación de los lectores según el tipo de siniestro, los rasgos sensacionalistas que presente la noticia y el carácter popular de las víctimas. Los resultados confirman una baja participación social en los indicativos de “me gusta” y “compartido” y una mayor actividad en los comentarios de las noticias, sobre todo en los casos de suicidio, en noticias con rasgos sensacionalistas y cuando la víctima es un personaje popularmente conocido.
... Considering the virtually endless number of choices in social media feeds, the question of which news posts capture users' attention is of particular importance. Since measuring attention is methodologically challenging, there are only a handful of studies that have tried to address this in the context of social media news use (Bode, Vraga, & Troller-Renfree, 2017;Ohme & Mothes, 2020;Sülflow, Schäfer, & Winter, 2019;. The stream of posts created for these studies, however, usually does not represent the whole range of content that is available in a typical social media feed, thus recreating the idea of non-exclusivity only to an extent. ...
Article
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Social media have become a central source for news and current affairs information. This article focuses on the overarching attributes that shape how people come in contact with news, engage with news, and are affected by news on social media. Although all social media are different and change constantly, news experiences on these platforms can consistently be characterized as personalized, incidental, non-exclusive, as well as granularized and social (PINGS). Accordingly, this article introduces the PINGS framework, which acts as a systematization of social media news experiences and can be used to map key opportunities and challenges of using news across various social media platforms. In addition to presenting the framework components, the article also discusses how researchers can investigate PINGS in empirical studies.
Chapter
With the widespread emergence of “feed” in mobile Internet products, their competition for users and their usage time has become increasingly fierce, which makes improving the feed reading experience important. This research focuses on the news feed of Chinese news applications (apps) and attempts to provide an integrated picture of user experience with mobile news feed. The research was conducted in two phases. In the first stage, we explored users’ demands on mobile news feed and extracted important factors affecting users’ preference for products through in-depth interviews. Excluding the influence of news contents, the graphic layout and image quality, ancillary information, and template combination play important roles in users’ preference for products. On this basis, the template combination was further studied with an eye-tracking experiment. Results of eye-tracking data and subjective evaluation of six combinations show that templates and their combination influence users’ browsing behaviors and their subjective evaluation. It is a good choice to combine large-picture template with consecutive single-picture templates or consecutive three-picture ones since it can be well integrated. When consecutive three-picture templates work with one single-picture template, the score on users’ satisfaction of “good organization” is low, and the single-picture template is more likely to be ignored by the user, which greatly weakens the value of this piece of news. The research results provide design suggestions for the news feed of mobile news apps.
Article
Despite the increasing presence of advertising on social media, research looking into the relative effects of social media ads is limited and highly dependent on either self-report or basic engagement metrics (e.g., likes). Our understanding of social media advertising is further complicated by (1) constantly changing advertising strategies, such as inclusion of consumer recommendations, and (2) the role of the device used to access social media. In an eye-tracking study (n = 121), we investigate whether consumers dedicate different levels of attention to an ad in a social media newsfeed depending on consumer recommendation (with versus without) and type of device (smartphone versus desktop personal computer [PC]). To increase ecological validity, this study uses a scrollable social media feed in combination with a mobile eye tracker. We find that consumers pay similar attention to the social media ad across recommendation conditions and devices. The results of this study suggest that the effects of advertisements may be smaller than previously assumed and call for more research using more realistic and dynamic exposure situations.
Article
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Especially during election times, news is an indispensable means for citizens to make informed political decisions. The ubiquitous information access of mobile devices creates the potential for increasing news use among citizens in general and specifically during campaign time. However, little is known about the outcomes of this new way of accessing news, although research suggests that less attention and involvement are dedicated to news accessed on a mobile phone. This study therefore applies the differential gains perspective to mobile news use during the 2015 Danish national election campaign. We utilize a pre- and post-election panel survey and a smartphone-based media diary study among Danish voters (n¼1108) to test whether news app use and mobile browsing affect political knowledge and campaign participation differently than other types of campaign news exposure. Results suggest equal gains for citizens’ political knowledge, but differential gains for mobilizing effects of mobile news use.
Article
Objective: The quality of cancer-related information on social media (SM) is mixed, and exposure to inaccurate information may negatively affect knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors. This study examines SM users' attention to simulated Facebook posts related to cancer and identifies message features associated with increased attention. Methods: SM users (N = 53) participated in a mixed methods experimental study using eye-tracking technology, whereby participants' dwell time on message components was measured. Stimuli conditions included message format (narrative/non-narrative), information veracity, source (organization/individual), and cancer topic (HPV vaccine and sunscreen safety). Results: Pixel-size adjusted analyses revealed that average dwell time was longer on posts attributed to individuals and on narrative-based posts. The source of the message received nearly the same amount of dwell time as the text. Dwell time on other message components did not significantly differ by condition. Conclusion: This study found that the source of a message attracted substantial attention, whereas other features were not associated with attention. The study illustrates how communication research can help us understand the processing of ubiquitous cancer-related messages on SM. Practical implications: Health communication practitioners should consider message features that garner attention when developing efforts to facilitate the exchange of evidence-based information and to mitigate the harms of misinformation.
Article
Previous studies have emphasized a person’s biological sex as a factor which influences online search behavior. This study aims to investigate how people ( N = 44 students) search online for political information ( N = 220 search tasks) and if gendered online search exists. We examined online search behavior via eye tracking while the participants searched for information about political party positions on the Internet. A content analysis of the eye tracking data followed and was evaluated with a special focus on the role of biological sex and social gender, and the relationship of both factors with other variables, such as self-reported prior political knowledge, political interest, and Internet skills (via an online survey). The results accord with previous studies in that the sex influences the online search process. However, this relationship was partially mediated by self-reported political interest and prior knowledge. This outcome calls for a more critical use of the sex variable in reference to political online search behavior, and the inclusion of sex and gender related variables.
Preprint
Sequential modelling entails making sense of sequential data, which naturally occurs in a wide array of domains. One example is systems that interact with users, log user actions and behaviour, and make recommendations of items of potential interest to users on the basis of their previous interactions. In such cases, the sequential order of user interactions is often indicative of what the user is interested in next. Similarly, for systems that automatically infer the semantics of text, capturing the sequential order of words in a sentence is essential, as even a slight re-ordering could significantly alter its original meaning. This thesis makes methodological contributions and new investigations of sequential modelling for the specific application areas of systems that recommend music tracks to listeners and systems that process text semantics in order to automatically fact-check claims, or "speed read" text for efficient further classification. (Rest of abstract omitted due to arXiv abstract limit)
Article
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Current surveys such as the Reuters Digital News Report 2018 show that trust in the media is at an all-time low in Austria. Among those between 18 and 24 years of age, more people distrust news than trust it. The aim of this study is to analyze young adults’ news consumption and trust in media in Austria through personal semistructured qualitative interviews to gain an in-depth understanding of their news consumption and trust in media channels, sources, and content. The 35 interviews with young adults aged 18–25 years reveal that traditional media channels are the most trusted. Despite widespread consensus that more dubious content is circulated on social media, the content from these channels is generally not considered problematic. Journalists, as identifiable sources of news, are largely irrelevant in orienting the information behaviors of this user group, with peers being more important influencers and providers of (links to) news. These findings highlight a lack of critical engagement and raise questions about the efficacy of current education on media literacy.
Article
This study uses an unobtrusive eye tracking approach to examine understudied psychological mechanisms – message attention and credibility – when people are exposed to misinformation and correction on social media. We contrast humor versus non-humor correction strategies that point out rhetorical flaws in misinformation regarding the HPV vaccine, which was selected for its relevance and impact on public health. We randomly assigned participants to one of two experimental conditions: humor correction versus non-humor correction. Our analyses revealed that the humor correction increased attention to the image portion of the correction tweet, and this attention indirectly lowered HPV misperceptions by reducing the credibility of the misinformation tweet. The study also found that the non-humor correction outperformed the humor correction in reducing misperceptions via its higher credibility ratings. Practical implications for correcting misinformation on social media are discussed.
Article
Purpose As the epidemic of online fake news is causing major concerns in contexts such as politics and public health, the current study aimed to elucidate the effect of certain “heuristic cues,” or key contextual features, which may increase belief in the credibility and the subsequent sharing of online fake news. Design/methodology/approach This study employed a 2 (news veracity: real vs fake) × 2 (social endorsements: low Facebook “likes” vs high Facebook “likes”) between-subjects experimental design ( N = 239). Findings The analysis revealed that a high number of Facebook “likes” accompanying fake news increased the perceived credibility of the material compared to a low number of “likes.” In addition, the mediation results indicated that increased perceptions of news credibility may create a situation in which readers feel that it is necessary to cognitively elaborate on the information present in the news, and this active processing finally leads to sharing. Practical implications The results from this study help explicate what drives increased belief and sharing of fake news and can aid in refining interventions aimed at combating fake news for both communities and organizations. Originality/value The current study expands upon existing literature, linking the use of social endorsements to perceived credibility of fake news and information, and sheds light on the causal mechanisms through which people make the decision to share news articles on social media.
Article
Samenvatting Dit experiment bij 171 Vlaamse jongeren (11-15 jaar) onderzoekt door middel van eyetracking-technologie hoeveel aandacht zij besteden aan sociale advertenties die worden aanbevolen door hun beste vrienden. Daarnaast wordt onderzocht in welke mate dit hun reclameverwerking en merkattitudes beïnvloedt, rekening houdend met de rol van positieve en negatieve reacties op de advertenties in het proces van attitudevorming.
Article
This exploratory study examines how participants incidentally consumed news on social media through an eye tracking analysis of their visual interaction with posts on Facebook. By interaction, we refer to the attention participants gave to news (measured through the time devoted to looking at the content); how they read these news items (measured through ocular movements on the screen); and the way they engaged with this content (measured through forms of participation such as liking, commenting, or sharing news). The data were triangulated through interviews with Facebook users and an analysis of the metrics of posts from Costa Rican news organizations on Facebook from 2017 to 2020. We draw on scholarship in communication studies and multimodal discourse analysis. We argue for a more nuanced approach to what study participants did when they incidentally encountered news on social media that focuses on mechanisms, that is, the specific procedures and operations that shape user interaction with news on Facebook (such as visual fixations on parts of news posts; the visual entry points through which they begin to interact with the news; the sequences that characterize how they navigate content; and the time they spend assessing various multimodal elements).
Article
How do users pick out online information sources? Building on a self-regulation perspective to media use, this study investigates routes to self-enhancement (i.e. state self-esteem [SSE] increase) through selective exposure to sources of political online information. Personal-self importance (PSI) and social-self importance (SSI) were conceptualized as moderators of self-enhancement. An experiment mimicked the filter bubble, as participants ( n = 88) browsed only attitude-aligned political content. The experiment varied source cues, with two (of eight) bylines displaying individual participants’ name initials as author initials. The selective exposure time participants spent on messages from same-initials authors was logged to capture egotism (based on the well-established name-letter effect). Pre-exposure SSE influenced self-enhancement, contingent upon both PSI and SSI. Perceived source similarity affected post-exposure SSE, contingent upon the same moderators. The findings show that algorithms can personalize source cues to attract users and impact self-esteem.
Article
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The (participatory) opportunities provided by interactive features on news sites have been widely theorized and investigated in recent years. However, user comments’ effects on the perception of journalistic quality have only begun to be examined. To investigate those effects, the present study deployed two 2 × 2 experiments with a between-subject design, thereby exposing participants (N = 224) to a constructed online news article (covering a potential military intervention of the German armed forces against ISIS) and corresponding user comments. Comments varied in terms of (I) support for the issue described in the article as well as the (II) addressing of journalistic quality criteria (accuracy, impartiality). Results indicate that user comments indeed had considerable effects on readers’ quality assessments. If anonymous users praised the quality of the article in their comments, journalistic quality was perceived to be significantly higher. Implications for news media and media effects research are discussed.
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This article provides a review of scientific, peer-reviewed articles that examine the relationship between news sharing and social media in the period from 2004 to 2014. A total of 461 articles were obtained following a literature search in two databases (Communication & Mass Media Complete [CMMC] and ACM), out of which 109 were deemed relevant based on the study’s inclusion criteria. In order to identify general tendencies and to uncover nuanced findings, news sharing research was analyzed both quantitatively and qualitatively. Three central areas of research—news sharing users, content, and networks—were identified and systematically reviewed. In the central concluding section, the results of the review are used to provide a critical diagnosis of current research and suggestions on how to move forward in news sharing research.
Article
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Exposure to news, opinion and civic information increasingly occurs through social media. How do these online networks influence exposure to perspectives that cut across ideological lines? Using de-identified data, we examined how 10.1 million U.S. Facebook users interact with socially shared news. We directly measured ideological homophily in friend networks, and examine the extent to which heterogeneous friends could potentially expose individuals to cross-cutting content. We then quantified the extent to which individuals encounter comparatively more or less diverse content while interacting via Facebook's algorithmically ranked News Feed, and further studied users' choices to click through to ideologically discordant content. Compared to algorithmic ranking, individuals' choices about what to consume had a stronger effect limiting exposure to cross-cutting content. Copyright © 2015, American Association for the Advancement of Science.
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The emergence of online reader comments over the past years has made opinions of readers more visible to journalists and users of news websites. This article discusses whether online reader comments provide a representative picture of the opinion of news site users and how this affects the perceived public opinion. Findings of an online survey among the users of eight Swiss newspapers indicate that comments are not representative since people who write comments tend to differ from those reading the comments with respect to gender, age, and political orientation. Of special interest is the finding that those writing comments tend to be politically further right than those reading comments and that " rightists " are writing more frequently. However, readers of the comments are not aware of this bias, leading to a systematically distorted perception of public opinion. Different types of regulation are discussed with respect to their acceptance as well as their potential impact on comments. Licence: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 (CC-BY 4.0)
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Internet users have access to a multitude of science-related information – on journalistic news sites but also on blogs with user-generated content. In this context, we investigated in two studies the factors which influence laypersons’ selective exposure (N = 101). In an experiment with a collection of online news, parents were asked to search for information about the controversy surrounding violence in the media. Texts from high-reputation sources were clicked on more frequently – regardless of content –, whereas ratings by others had limited effects. In a second experiment, the expertise and gender of blog authors as well as valence and number of ratings were varied. In this setting, texts from sources with positive ratings were read for longer. Results show that laypersons make use of credibility cues when deciding which articles to read. For online news sites, media reputation is most important, whereas in blogs, ratings are taken into account more frequently.
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This section considers the application of eye movements to user interfaces—both for analyzing interfaces, measuring usability, and gaining insight into human performance—and as an actual control medium within a human-computer dialogue. The two areas have generally been reported separately; but this book seeks to tie them together. For usability analysis, the user’s eye movements while using the system are recorded and later analyzed retrospectively, but the eye movements do not affect the interface in real time. As a direct control medium, the eye movements are obtained and used in real time as an input to the user-computer dialogue. They might be the sole input, typically for disabled users or hands-busy applications, or they might be used as one of several inputs, combining with mouse, keyboard, sensors, or other devices. Interestingly, the principal challenges for both retrospective and real time eye tracking in humancomputer interaction (HCI) turn out to be analogous. For retrospective analysis, the problem is to find appropriate ways to use and interpret the data; it is not nearly as straightforward as it is with more typical task performance, speed, or error data. For real time use, the problem is to find appropriate ways to respond judiciously to eye movement input, and avoid over-responding; it is not nearly as straightforward as responding to well-defined, intentional mouse or keyboard input. We will see in this chapter how these two problems are closely related. These uses of eye tracking in HCI have been highly promising for many years, but progress in making good use of eye movements in HCI has been slow to date. We see promising research work, but we have not yet seen wide use of these approaches in practice or in the marketplace. We will describe the promises of this technology, its limitations, and the obstacles that must still be overcome. Work presented in this book and elsewhere shows that the field is indeed beginning to flourish.
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Holmqvist, K., Nyström, N., Andersson, R., Dewhurst, R., Jarodzka, H., & Van de Weijer, J. (Eds.) (2011). Eye tracking: a comprehensive guide to methods and measures, Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
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An experiment with two computer-based sessions (complete data for 156 participants) examined selective exposure to attitude-consistent and counterattitudinal media messages. In the first session, participants indicated interest in politics and news, political attitudes, with four target issues embedded, along with attitude certainty and importance. Attitude accessibility data were derived from response latencies. In the second session, participants browsed an online opinion forum with eight texts about four issues, each with a pair of articles presenting opposing views. Selective exposure was unobtrusively recorded by software and coded as attitude-consistent and counterattitudinal based on individual participants' attitudes. Results show that attitude-consistent exposure dominated regardless of particular issue, with 36% more reading time. Higher habitual news use and attitude certainty both fostered attitude-consistent exposure. Selection of counterattitudinal articles was more likely among participants with greater interest in politics, conservative party preference, stronger party preference, more accessible attitudes, and higher attitude importance.
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In this study, 36 participants read an expository text describing 4 rare illnesses from a given perspective. Their eye movements were recorded during reading, and think-alouds were probed after 10 relevant and 10 irrelevant sentences. A free recall was collected after reading. The results showed that in addition to increasing the fixation time and recall for relevant in comparison to irrelevant text information, a reading perspective guides readers to use slightly different comprehension processes for relevant text information, as shown by think-aloud protocols. Repetitions were more frequent responses after relevant than after irrelevant target sentences. Verbally reported processing strategies were associated with the eye-fixation patterns. Verbal responses indicative of deeper processing were associated with longer first-pass fixation times than those indicative of shallower processing. It is concluded that a "triangulation" using complementary measures is a worthwhile endeavor when studying text-comprehension processes.
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This article argues that a theory of media selectivity needs a theory of attention, because attention to a media stimulus is the starting point of each process of reception. Attention sequences towards media stimuli �pages of newspapers and online-newspapers � were analyzed by eye-tracking patterns from three different perspectives. First, attention patterns were compared under varying task conditions. Second, different types of media were tested. Third, attention sequences towards different forms of news with different design patterns were compared. Attention was seen as a prerequisite for reception:Its selective functions for these processes are especially important. Reception itself was examined within an action-theoretical framework and therefore described as a form of interaction between recipient and the media. Eye-tracking data were used as indicators of attention. Starting with a hypothesis on the impact of different media such as printed newspapers and online newspapers on the agenda-setting process of their audience, the study examined how the type of media and the form of news influences attention and selectivity. Our findings showed that visual cues such as salient photos or graphics and information hierarchies signalled by design and layout guide attention processes, not as an automatic process driven from the bottom up, but as stimuli for an active, intention driven selection process. The results indicate that the form of news affects these patterns of interactive attention more than the medium itself.
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Much of the literature on polarization and selective exposure presumes that the internet exacerbates the fragmentation of the media and the citizenry. Yet this ignores how the widespread use of social media changes news consumption. Social media provide readers a choice of stories from different sources that come recommended from politically heterogeneous individuals, in a context that emphasizes social value over partisan affiliation. Building on existing models of news selectivity to emphasize information utility, we hypothesize that social media’s distinctive feature, social endorsements, trigger several decision heuristics that suggest utility. In two experiments, we demonstrate that stronger social endorsements increase the probability that people select content and that their presence reduces partisan selective exposure to levels indistinguishable from chance.
Article
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Google News and other newsbots have automated the process of news selection, providing Internet users with a virtually limitless array of news and public information dynamically culled from thousands of news organizations all over the world. In order to help users cope with the resultant overload of information, news leads are typically accompanied by three cues: (a) the name of the primary source from which the headline and lead were borrowed, (b) the time elapsed since the story broke, and (c) the number of related articles written about this story by other news organizations tracked by the newsbot. This article investigates the psychological significance of these cues by positing that the information scent transmitted by each cue triggers a distinct heuristic (mental shortcut) that tends to influence online users' perceptions of a given news item, with implications for their assessment of the item's relevance to their information needs and interests. A large 2 × 3 × 6 within-subjects online experiment (N = 523) systematically varied two levels of the source credibility cue, three levels of the upload recency cue and six levels of the number-of-related-articles cue in an effort to investigate their effects upon perceived message credibility, newsworthiness, and likelihood of clicking on the news lead. Results showed evidence for source primacy effect, and some indication of a cue-cumulation effect when source credibility is low. Findings are discussed in the context of machine and bandwagon heuristics.
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It is often asserted that friends and acquaintances have more similar beliefs and attitudes than do strangers; yet empirical studies disagree over exactly how much diversity of opinion exists within local social networks and, relatedly, how much awareness individuals have of their neighbors' views. This article reports results from a network survey, conducted on the Facebook social networking platform, in which participants were asked about their own political attitudes, as well as their beliefs about their friends' attitudes. Although considerable attitude similarity exists among friends, the results show that friends disagree more than they think they do. In particular, friends are typically unaware of their disagreements, even when they say they discuss the topic, suggesting that discussion is not the primary means by which friends infer each other's views on particular issues. Rather, it appears that respondents infer opinions in part by relying on stereotypes of their friends and in part by projecting their own views. The resulting gap between real and perceived agreement may have implications for the dynamics of political polarization and theories of social influence in general.
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Humans have an extremely flexible ability to categorize regularities in their environment, in part because of attentional systems that allow them to focus on important perceptual information. In formal theories of categorization, attention is typically modeled with weights that selectively bias the processing of stimulus features. These theories make differing predictions about the degree of flexibility with which attention can be deployed in response to stimulus properties. Results from 2 eye-tracking studies show that humans can rapidly learn to differently allocate attention to members of different categories. These results provide the first unequivocal demonstration of stimulus-responsive attention in a categorization task. Furthermore, the authors found clear temporal patterns in the shifting of attention within trials that follow from the informativeness of particular stimulus features. These data provide new insights into the attention processes involved in categorization.
Book
Eye-tracking is quickly becoming a valuable tool in applied linguistics research as it provides a 'real-time', direct measure of cognitive processing effort. This book provides a straightforward introduction to the technology and how it might be used in language research. With a strong focus on the practicalities of designing eye-tracking studies that achieve the standard of other well-established experimental techniques, it provides valuable information about building and designing studies, touching on common challenges and problems, as well as solutions. Importantly, the book looks at the use of eye-tracking in a wide variety of applied contexts including reading, listening and multi-modal input, writing, testing, corpus linguistics, translation, stylistics, and computer-mediated communication. Each chapter finishes with a simple checklist to help researchers use eye-tracking in a wide variety of language studies. Discussion is grounded in concrete examples, which will allow users coming to the technology for the first time to gain the knowledge and confidence to use it to produce high quality research.
Article
An important but understudied characteristic of the information environment involves political information changing across time. This dynamic feature of the environment can make it difficult for voters to possess accurate political knowledge. In this study, we assessed memory for political information using self-report and eye movement methods. We used these metrics to examine how individuals learn facts about policies whose important features have changed across time. We find that eye movements can accurately assess changes in political information even when self-reports fail to do so. Our results highlight the utility of a converging methods approach in the study of dynamic information environments, and specify mechanisms that facilitate or inhibit people’s capacity to recognize changes in political information.
Article
This study investigated the effects of message and social cues on selective exposure to political information in a social media environment. Based on the heuristic-systematic model, we hypothesized that readers' selective consideration of specific cues can be explained by situational motivations. In an experiment (N = 137), subjects primed with motivational goals (accuracy, defense, or impression motivations, as well as a control group) were asked to search for information. Participants preferred attitude-consistent information and balanced information over attitude-inconsistent information, and also preferred highly recommended articles. Defense-motivated partisans exhibited a stronger confirmation bias, whereas impression motivation amplified the effects of social recommendations. These findings specify the conditions under which individuals engage in narrow, open-minded, or social patterns of information selection.
Article
In online social networks, users tend to select information that adhere to their system of beliefs and to form polarized groups of like minded people. Polarization as well as its effects on online social interactions have been extensively investigated. Still, the relation between group formation and personality traits remains unclear. A better understanding of the cognitive and psychological determinants of online social dynamics might help to design more efficient communication strategies and to challenge the digital misinformation threat. In this work, we focus on users commenting posts published by US Facebook pages supporting scientific and conspiracy-like narratives, and we classify the personality traits of those users according to their online behavior. We show that different and conflicting communities are populated by users showing similar psychological profiles, and that the dominant personality model is the same in both scientific and conspiracy echo chambers. Moreover, we observe that the permanence within echo chambers slightly shapes users' psychological profiles. Our results suggest that the presence of specific personality traits in individuals lead to their considerable involvement in supporting narratives inside virtual echo chambers.
Article
Research on social media content overwhelmingly relies on self-reports, which we suggest are meaningfully limited and likely biased. Instead, we apply an under-utilized method—corneal eye tracking—for gauging attention to content in social media. We expose subjects to different types of Facebook content and track their gaze as they browse through posts. Substantively, we find that news and social content garner equal attention, with politics trailing behind both. We also find that the style of the post matters for attention patterns, with richer content (e.g., pictures, links) enhancing attention especially for social and news posts. Methodologically, we conclude that participants are unable to accurately report the topics and types of content available on the Facebook feed, even immediately after exposure. We discuss the implications of these findings and also make recommendations for appropriate methods in this area.
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Journalists are increasingly concerned that offensive and banal user comments on news websites might alienate readers and damage quality perceptions. To explore such presumed effects, we investigated the impact of civility and reasoning (and lack thereof) in user comments on perceptions of journalistic quality. An experiment revealed that unreasoned comments decrease an article’s perceived informational quality, but only in unknown news brands. Incivility in comments had an unconditionally negative effect on the perceived formal quality of an article. Neither civility nor reasoning improved the assessments of journalistic quality, as compared to a comment-free version. On the contrary, we observed a trend showing that the mere presence of comments deteriorates the perceived quality of an article.
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Survey experiments have become a central methodology across the social sciences. Researchers can combine experiments’ causal power with the generalizability of population-based samples. Yet, due to the expense of population-based samples, much research relies on convenience samples (e.g. students, online opt-in samples). The emergence of affordable, but non-representative online samples has reinvigorated debates about the external validity of experiments. We conduct two studies of how experimental treatment effects obtained from convenience samples compare to effects produced by population samples. In Study 1, we compare effect estimates from four different types of convenience samples and a population-based sample. In Study 2, we analyze treatment effects obtained from 20 experiments implemented on a population-based sample and Amazon's Mechanical Turk (MTurk). The results reveal considerable similarity between many treatment effects obtained from convenience and nationally representative population-based samples. While the results thus bolster confidence in the utility of convenience samples, we conclude with guidance for the use of a multitude of samples for advancing scientific knowledge.
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Eye tracking is a technique whereby an individual’s eye movements are measured so that the researcher knows both where a person is looking at any given time and the sequence in which the person’s eyes are shifting from one location to another. Tracking people’s eye movements can help HCI researchers to understand visual and display-based information processing and the factors that may impact the usability of system interfaces. In this way, eye-movement recordings can provide an objective source of interface-evaluation data that can inform the design of improved interfaces. Eye movements also can be captured and used as control signals to enable people to interact with interfaces directly without the need for mouse or keyboard input, which can be a major advantage for certain populations of users, such as disabled individuals. We begin this article with an overview of eye-tracking technology and progress toward a detailed discussion of the use of eye tracking in HCI and usability research. A key element of this discussion is to provide a practical guide to inform researchers of the various eye-movement measures that can be taken and the way in which these metrics can address questions about system usability. We conclude by considering the future prospects for eye-tracking research in HCI and usability testing. Purchase this chapter to continue reading all 9 pages >
Article
Media psychologists have theoretical interests in both people and media, yet research investments considerably favor subjects over stimuli. An analysis of 306 studies, taken from the journal Media Psychology over the last 10 years, and from the most cited media experiments in other journals, shows that studies invested in tens of thousands of human subjects but the studies used small samples of media material that were often narrow and unrepresentative. The vast majority of experiments (65%) used single examples of media messages per condition yet they discussed large categories of real world media experiences. Analysis of specific selections showed that media represented in research are less variant, nuanced, and idiosyncratic than media found in the real world. Two categories of solutions are discussed. First, new statistical solutions promote more attention to media repetitions analyzed as random factors. Second, we review the advantages of uncommon research designs that emphasize stimulus investments, including single subject designs that collect intra-individual data and that construct unique models using the entirety, rather than samples, of messages that people experience.
Article
Visual attention to threat-related facial expressions possibly contributes to delusion formation and maintenance and may serve as a vulnerability marker. The aim of the present study was to examine visual attention to threat-related facial expressions using dynamic stimuli in people with differing levels of delusion-proneness. We expected that threat-relevant facial expressions would attract more foveal attention compared to neutral faces. Additionally, we hypothesized that more delusion-prone individuals would show foveal avoidance and that this avoidance would occur particularly in the visual processing of threat-related faces. In a quasi-experimental design we categorized our sample by the paranoia checklist (PCL) into a high-PCL (n = 25) and low-PCL (n = 30) group. The participants’ task was to view emotional facial expressions in validated film sequences while eye movements were measured. A mixed ANOVA for the number of fixations and equivalent non-parametric tests for fixation time were conducted. Both groups spent significantly more time viewing relevant features in threat-related faces compared to neutral faces. A significant main effect for group indicated fewer fixations in the high-PCL group compared to the low-PCL group for all faces. A significant Group × Affect interaction indicated that the number of fixations differed between the high-PCL group and the low-PCL group depending on whether the faces displayed neutral or threat-related expressions. The findings suggest that higher delusion-proneness is already associated with a deviant style of visually attending to facial expressions even in people who do not have a clinical diagnosis of schizophrenia. This style may thus be a vulnerability marker for psychosis.
Article
This study advances our understanding of "cross-pressures," a concept recognized in the earliest studies of American voting, but for which empirical evidence and theoretical development has been sorely lacking. Although the current consensus suggests that political cross-pressures are of little, if any, consequence for political participation, I find that people whose networks involve greater political disagreement are less likely to participate in politics. Two social psychological processes are suggested to account for this effect. First, those embedded in cross-cutting social and political networks are, as a consequence, more likely to hold ambivalent political views, which in turn discourage political involvement. Second, social accountability pressures in cross-cutting networks discourage political participation; the inherently controversial nature of politics is perceived to pose threats to the harmony of social relationships.
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This study investigated if user-generated comments on Internet news sites affect readers' inferences about public opinion, and subsequently, their perceptions of media bias, and how ego-involvement moderates such effects. Supporting the notion that hostile media perception (HMP) stems from defensive processing, those who read others' comments discordant (vs. concordant) with their own opinion believed that the public was against their position and perceived the news report to be more hostile and partial in its coverage, but such effects were limited to those with higher ego-involvement. Readers' comments also had a direct effect on HMP among more involved individuals, without altering their perceptions of public opinion, suggesting that people might misattribute the opinions expressed in others' comments to the news article. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
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This research investigates how cues describing the authors of user-generated online science articles in blogs, and indications about whether the articles are 1-sided or 2-sided, affect others' decision about which content to read. It extended the elaboration likelihood model (ELM; Petty & Cacioppo, 1986), to predict whether better-quality arguments and individuals' need for cognition affected their content selections. In 2 experiments, 121 parents were asked to search for information on a blog concerning the effects of violent media. Results showed a general preference for texts composed by users with greater expertise and for 2-sided messages. Need for cognition magnified the effect of message sidedness, suggesting that the ELM is relevant for blogs and the selection of user-generated science stories.
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Networked digital media present new challenges for people to locate information that they can trust. At the same time, societal reliance on information that is available solely or primarily via the Internet is increasing. This article discusses how and why digitally networked communication environments alter traditional notions of trust, and presents research that examines how information consumers make judgments about the credibility and accuracy of information they encounter online. Based on this research, the article focuses on the use of cognitive heuristics in credibility evaluation. Findings from recent studies are used to illustrate the types of cognitive heuristics that information consumers employ when determining what sources and information to trust online. The article concludes with an agenda for future research that is needed to better understand the role and influence of cognitive heuristics in credibility evaluation in computer-mediated communication contexts.
Article
Research has recognized both selective and heterogeneous exposures on the Internet through online news and discussion. How online exposures through Internet news and discussion influence political diversity in individuals’ everyday lives needs to be addressed. The current research examines the extent to which Internet news use alters the effect of selective online interaction on political diversity in individuals’ social networks. Results show that while Internet news use has no direct relationship with political diversity in individuals’ social networks, it nevertheless moderates the negative effect of selective online interaction and indirectly contributes to political diversity. The social structural aspect of political diversity in social networks is discussed in comparison to political discussion networks.
Article
Selecting news online may differ from traditional news choices, as most formal importance indicators in traditional media do not convert directly to online news. However, online portals feature news recommendations based on collaborative filtering. To investigate how recommendations affect information choices, 93 participants browsed online news that featured explicit (average rating) or implicit (times viewed) recommendations or no recommendations (control group) while news exposure was logged. Participants picked more articles if the portal featured explicit recommendations, and stronger explicit recommendations instigated longer exposure to associated articles. Implicit recommendations produced a curvilinear effect with longer exposure for low and high numbers.
Article
In a new test of the process of forgetting, the authors found that subjects, at the time of exposure, discounted material from “untrustworthy” sources. In time, however, the subjects tended to disassociate the content and the source with the result that the original scepticism faded and the “untrustworthy” material was accepted. Lies, in fact, seemed to be remembered better than truths.
Article
We propose a model of motivated skepticism that helps explain when and why citizens are biased-information processors. Two experimental studies explore how citizens evaluate arguments about affirmative action and gun control, finding strong evidence of a prior attitude effect such that attitudinally congruent arguments are evaluated as stronger than attitudinally incongruent arguments. When reading pro and con arguments, participants (Ps) counterargue the contrary arguments and uncritically accept supporting arguments, evidence of a disconfirmation bias. We also find a confirmation bias—the seeking out of confirmatory evidence—when Ps are free to self-select the source of the arguments they read. Both the confirmation and disconfirmation biases lead to attitude polarization—the strengthening of t2 over t1 attitudes—especially among those with the strongest priors and highest levels of political sophistication. We conclude with a discussion of the normative implications of these findings for rational behavior in a democracy.
Article
We show that the demand for news varies with the perceived affinity of the news organization to the consumer’s political preferences. In an experimental setting, conservatives and Republicans preferred to read news reports attributed to Fox News and to avoid news from CNN and NPR. Democrats and liberals exhibited exactly the opposite syndrome—dividing their attention equally between CNN and NPR, but avoiding Fox News. This pattern of selective exposure based on partisan affinity held not only for news coverage of controversial issues but also for relatively ‘‘soft’’ subjects such as crime and travel. The tendency to select news based on anticipated agreement was also strengthened among more politically engaged partisans. Overall, these results suggest that the further proliferation of new media and enhanced media choices may contribute to the further polarization of the news audience.
Article
Recent research (Tormala & Petty, 2002) has demonstrated that when people resist persuasion, they can perceive this resistance and become more certain of their initial attitudes. This research explores the role of source credibility in determining when this effect occurs. In two experiments, participants received a counterattitudinal persuasive message. When participants counterargued this message, they became more certain of their attitudes, but only when it came from a source with high expertise. When the message came from a source with low expertise, resisting it had no impact on attitude certainty. This effect was shown using both a traditional measure of attitude certainty (Experiment 1) and a well-established consequence of certainty--the correspondence between attitudes and behavioral intentions (Experiment 2). In addition, the effect was confined to high elaboration conditions, and occurred even when participants were not explicitly instructed to counterargue. These results are consistent with a metacognitive framework proposed to understand resistance to persuasion. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
This article seeks to reframe the selective exposure debate by demonstrating that people exhibit a preference for opinion-reinforcing political information without systematically avoiding opinion challenges. The results are based on data collected in a national random-digit-dial telephone survey (n = 1,510) conducted prior to the 2004 U.S. presidential election. Analyses show that Americans use the control afforded by online information sources to increase their exposure to opinions consistent with their own views without sacrificing contact with other opinions. This observation contradicts the common assumption that reinforcement seeking and challenge avoidance are intrinsically linked aspects of the selective exposure phenomenon. This distinction is important because the consequences of challenge avoidance are significantly more harmful to democratic deliberation than those of reinforcement seeking.
Article
This paper presents an information-processing model that is directly applicable to the investigation of how mediated messages are processed. It applies the model to the case of television viewing to demonstrate its applicability. It provides a measure for each part of the model. It presents evidence that supports the model in the television-viewing situation. Finally, it demonstrates how the model may be used to further research and understanding in well-known theoretical traditions. This model is not meant to stand in opposition to any of these theories but, rather, should work well with them by providing hypothesized mechanisms that may underlie well-known effects. This model should prove useful both to researchers and, eventually, to message producers. To the extent that we can better understand how the content and structure of messages interact with a viewer's information-processing system to determine which parts and how much of a communication message is remembered, we will make great strides in understanding how people communicate.
Article
The recording of event-related potentials (ERPs) in the brain has allowed for a better understanding of human sensory and cognitive processing. This technique may also prove useful in studying implicit social attitudes and their effects on information processing. Here, ERPs were used in a study of “hot cognition” in the context of political concepts. Hot cognition, as applied to the political domain, posits that all sociopolitical concepts that have been evaluated in the past are affectively charged, and that this affective charge is automatically activated from long-term memory within milliseconds of presentation of the political stimulus. During an evaluative priming task, ERP recordings showed that affectively incongruent prime/target pairs elicited an enhanced negativity with a peak latency of about 400 milliseconds relative to affectively congruent prime/target pairs. These differences suggest that automatic, implicit evaluations were made in response to strongly positive and negative political stimuli, and that these evaluations affected the subsequent processing of a high-valence adjective. Therefore, it appears that the emotional valence of a political prime is stored along with the concept itself, and that an affective response becomes active upon mere exposure to the political stimulus.
Article
The number of brands in the marketplace has vastly increased in the 1980s and 1990s, and the amount of money spent on advertising has run parallel. Print advertising is a major communication instrument for advertisers, but print media have become cluttered with advertisements for brands. Therefore, it has become difficult to attract and keep consumers' attention. Advertisements that fail to gain and retain consumers' attention cannot be effective, but attention is not sufficient: Advertising needs to leave durable traces of brands in memory. Eye movements are eminent indicators of visual attention. However, what is currently missing in eye movementresearch is a serious account of the processing that takes place to store information in long-term memory. We attempt to provide such an account through the development of a formal model. We model the process by which eye fixations on print advertisements lead to memory for the advertised brands, using a hierarchical Bayesian model, but, rather than postulating such a model as a mere data-analysis tool, we derive it from substantive theory on attention and memory. The model is calibrated to eye-movement data that are collected during exposure of subjects to ads in magazines, and subsequent recognition of the brand in a perceptual memory task. During exposure to the ads we record the frequencies of fixations on three ad elements; brand, pictorial and text and, during the memory task, the accuracy and latency of memory. Thus, the available data for each subject consist of the frequency of fixations on the ad elements and the accuracy and the latency of memory. The model that we develop is grounded in attention and memory theory and describes information extraction and accumulation during ad exposure and their effect on the accuracy and latency of brand memory. In formulating it, we assume that subjects have different eye-fixation rates for the different ad elements, because of which a negative binomial model of fixation frequency arises, and we specify the influence of the size of the ad elements. It is assumed that the number of fixations, not their duration, is related to the amount of information a consumer extracts from an ad. The information chunks extracted at each fixation are assumed to be random, varying across ads and consumers, and are estimated from the observed data. The accumulation of information across multiple fixations to the ad elements in long-term memory is assumed to be additive. The total amount of accumulated information that is not directly observed but estimated using our model influences both the accuracy and latency of subsequent brand memory. Accurate memory is assumed to occur when the accumulated information exceeds a threshold that varies randomly across ads and consumers in a binary probit-type of model component. The effect of two media-planning variables, the ad's serial position in a magazine and the ad's location on the double page, on the brand memory threshold are specified. We formulate hypotheses on the effects of ad element surface, serial position, and location. The model is applied in a study involving a sample of 88 consumers who were exposed to 65 print ads appearing in their natural context in two magazines. The frequency of eye fixations was recorded for each consumer and advertisement with infrared eye-tracking methodology. In a subsequent indirect memory task, consumers identified the brands from pixelated images of the ads. Across the two magazines, fixations to the pictorial and the brand systematically promote accurate brand memory, but text fixations do not. Brand surface has a particularly prominent effect. The more information is extracted from an ad during fixations, the shorter the latency of brand memory is. We find a systematic recency effect: When subjects are exposed to an ad later, they tend to identify it better. In addition, there is a small primacy effect. The effect of the ad's location on the right or left of the page depends on the advertising context. We show how the model supports advertising planning and testing and offer recommendations for further research on the effectiveness of brand communication. In future research the model may be extended to accommodate the effects of repeated exposure to ads, to further detail the representation of strength and association of memory, and to include the effects of creative tactics and media planning variables beyond the ones we included in the present study.
Article
Three experiments were performed investigating the extent to which recognition memory for pictures can be predicted by eye-movement patterns on the picture at the time of study. In each experiment, 180 pictures were viewed followed by a yes-no recognition test on all the pictures. Eye movements were recorded at the time of study. Experiment I investigated payoff structure: It was found that higher-valued pictures both received more fixations and were remembered better than low-valued pictures, but when number of fixations was held constant, memory performance was independent of value. Experiment II showed that (a) when pictures are viewed for a fixed amount of time, memory performance is a positive function of number of fixations on the picture, (b) with number of fixations held constant, performance is independent of exposure time, and (c) there is no memory for pictures which were originally viewed only peripherally. In Expt. III, pictures were viewed either normally or while a distracting task (counting backward by threes) was being performed concurrently. The distracting task was found to reduce both number of fixations and memory performance for a picture. When number of fixations was held constant, performance was still better for normally viewed pictures, suggesting that the distracting task was doing more to inhibit encoding besides simply reducing the fixation rate.
Article
Citizens, especially those who are knowledgeable and care the most about politics, are motivated to defend their beliefs and attitudes in the face of discrepant information. These motivated biases strongly influence the way people think about health care policies and the politicians and parties that propose or attack these contentious policies. Three cognitive mechanisms are identified: a prior belief effect, confirmation bias, and disconfirmation bias. Together, these information processes conspire to produce persistence and polarization of opinion on health care policies.
Book
to the Human Visual System (HVS).- Visual Attention.- Neurological Substrate of the HVS.- Visual Psychophysics.- Taxonomy and Models of Eye Movements.- Eye Tracking Systems.- Eye Tracking Techniques.- Head-Mounted System Hardware Installation.- Head-Mounted System Software Development.- Head-Mounted System Calibration.- Table-Mounted System Hardware Installation.- Table-Mounted System Software Development.- Table-Mounted System Calibration.- Eye Movement Analysis.- Eye Tracking Methodology.- Experimental Design.- Suggested Empirical Guidelines.- Case Studies.- Eye Tracking Applications.- Diversity and Types of Eye Tracking Applications.- Neuroscience and Psychology.- Industrial Engineering and Human Factors.- Marketing/Advertising.- Computer Science.- Conclusion.
Article
A review of research suggests that the desire for opinion reinforcement may play a more important role in shaping individuals’ exposure to online political information than an aversion to opinion challenge. The article tests this idea using data collected via a web-administered behavior-tracking study with subjects recruited from the readership of 2 partisan online news sites (N = 727). The results demonstrate that opinion-reinforcing information promotes news story exposure while opinion-challenging information makes exposure only marginally less likely. The influence of both factors is modest, but opinion-reinforcing information is a more important predictor. Having decided to view a news story, evidence of an aversion to opinion challenges disappears: There is no evidence that individuals abandon news stories that contain information with which they disagree. Implications and directions for future research are discussed.
Article
It is proposed that motivation may affect reasoning through reliance on a biased set of cognitive processes--that is, strategies for accessing, constructing, and evaluating beliefs. The motivation to be accurate enhances use of those beliefs and strategies that are considered most appropriate, whereas the motivation to arrive at particular conclusions enhances use of those that are considered most likely to yield the desired conclusion. There is considerable evidence that people are more likely to arrive at conclusions that they want to arrive at, but their ability to do so is constrained by their ability to construct seemingly reasonable justifications for these conclusions. These ideas can account for a wide variety of research concerned with motivated reasoning.
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Presents a model of reading comprehension that accounts for the allocation of eye fixations of 14 college students reading scientific passages. The model deals with processing at the level of words, clauses, and text units. Readers made longer pauses at points where processing loads were greater. Greater loads occurred while readers were accessing infrequent words, integrating information from important clauses, and making inferences at the ends of sentences. The model accounts for the gaze duration on each word of text as a function of the involvement of the various levels of processing. The model is embedded in a theoretical framework capable of accommodating the flexibility of reading. (70 ref)
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Two experiments explored the role of information-processing capacity and strategies in regulating attitude-congruent selective exposure. In Experiment 1, participants were placed under time pressure and randomly assigned to conditions in which either an attitude-expressive or no-information processing goal was made salient. Analyses revealed an attitude-congruent selective exposure effect and indicated that this effect was stronger when an attitude-expressive goal was made salient than when no goal was made salient. In Experiment 2, information-processing goals and time pressure were factorially manipulated. Analyses revealed an attitude-congruent selective exposure effect and indicated that this effect was especially strong when time pressure was high and an attitude-expressive goal was made salient. In both experiments, bias at exposure was found to predict bias at later stages of information processing (attention and memory). Supplementary analyses and data confirmed that the attitude-expressive goal manipulation activated its intended motivational processing strategy.