Exploring the influence of audio in directing visual attention during dynamic content

Abstract: The mechanisms underlying the allocation of visual attention toward dynamic content are still largely unexplored. Due to the number of variables present during dynamic content, it is often difficult to confidently determine what components direct visual attention. In this study, we manipulated the presence of audio in an attempt to explore the contribution of audio in driving visual attention during dynamic content. Participants viewed a reel of non-global commercials while their eye movements were recorded. Participants were either exposed to content containing the original audio track or content in which the audio track was edited out. Dynamic heat maps were created for each ad in order to identify areas of high visual attention between the conditions. Fixation durations and fixation counts for each area of interest were then computed. Analyses showed that the presence of audio has an influence on the allocation of visual attention during dynamic content, most notably in regard to on-screen text. Understanding the influence of audio in directing visual attention may help future researchers control for the extraneous influence of audio in eye-tracking methodologies.

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