How information availability interacts with visual attention during judgment and decision tasks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Decisions in front of a supermarket shelf probably involve a mix of visually available information and associated memories – and interactions between those two. Several cognitive processes, such as decision-making, search and various judgments, are therefore likely to co-occur, and each process will influence visual attention. We conducted two eye-tracking experiments capturing parts of these features by having participants make either judgments or decisions concerning products that had been previously encoded. Half the time participants made their choices with full information about the available products and half the time with crucial task-relevant information removed. By comparing participants’ use of visual attention during decisions and search- and memory-based judgments, respectively, we can better understand how visual attention is differently employed between tasks and how it depends on the visual environment. We found that participants’ visual attention during decisions is sensitive to evaluations already made during encoding and strongly characterized by preferential looking to the options later to be chosen. When the task environment is rich enough, participants engage in advanced integrative visual behavior and improve their decision quality. In contrast, visual attention during judgments made on the same products reflects a search-like behavior when all information is available and a more focused type of visual behavior when information is removed. Our findings contribute not only to the literature on how visual attention is used during decision-making but also to methodological questions concerning how to measure and identify task-specific features of visual attention in ecologically valid ways.

Details

Authors
Organisations
External organisations
  • Karolinska Institutet
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Psychology

Keywords

  • visual memory, visual attention, transitions, preferential looking, eye movements, decision-making
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)218-231
JournalJournal of Behavioral Decision Making
Volume29
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes

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