Remember the News? What we focus on is what we forget

Vasilj M, MA, Koesling H, Sichelschmidt L, Rickheit G (2010)
In: 5th Scandinavian Workshop on Applied Eye Tracking SWAET 2010. Lund, Sweden.

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Abstract
The effectiveness of TV newscasts with regard to viewers\textbackslashtextquoteright} news information memorisation and recall has been an area of interest for researchers for some time. However, little effort has yet been made to examine how viewers integrate verbal information given by the news presenter and visual information provided by a photographic snapshots that is presented in the background of the TV news desk. Snapshots show, for example, a person or a venue that is verbally referred to in the news and are often complemented by text captions. As viewers are required to process all verbal and pictorial information rapidly before the programme proceeds, it is essential to optimise the visual structure of the newsroom setting as well as the verbal referencing so that relevant news contents are easy to understand and to remember. In the present study, we investigated how positioning of newsroom elements and referencing consistency affect recall of semantic detail of TV news. More specifically, we varied the location of the photographic snapshot (left vs. right) and its coherence with the news presenter\textbackslashtextquoteright}s verbalisation (consistent vs. inconsistent). The analysis of eye movements allowed us to understand how visual attention is guided by pictorial elements, verbal references and their interaction - and thus to understand how these factors affect information memorisation and recall. Oculomotor data and recall rates of 16 subjects were recorded while they viewed 18 dynamic scenes of different newsroom settings. After each scene, subjects recalled the semantic content of the news while looking at a black screen. We used an EyeLink II eye tracker to record subjects\textbackslashtextquoteright} eye movements during both news watching and recall phases. This allowed us to determine where, when and how long they attended to the presenter and the photographic screenshot, and to detect possible correspondences between the two phases. Eye-movement parameters such as fixation numbers and saccade amplitudes were also statistically analysed with respect to viewers\textbackslashtextquoteright} interests. Results show, for example, that in all trials the presenter predominantly becomes the centre of attention, irrespective of the position. This contrasts findings from studies with static TV news settings, where a presenter on the left was always attended to significantly longer (Vasilj, Koesling, Ritter \textbackslash& Sichelschmidt, 2009). Interestingly, although photographic snapshots were generally attended to less than presenters, the recall and recognition test shows that subjects could remember the photographic snapshot better than the verbal information. Data also suggests that similar eye-movement patterns in watching and recall phases coincide with better recall performance. Findings from our study can be used to optimise the visual structure of newsroom settings and may improve the processing and recall of essential news details. Not only broadcasters can benefit from the results, but also TV viewers. They can learn how to increase awareness of what they saw and heard in order to better remember news content.
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5th Scandinavian Workshop on Applied Eye Tracking SWAET 2010
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Lund, Sweden
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Vasilj M, MA, Koesling H, Sichelschmidt L, Rickheit G. Remember the News? What we focus on is what we forget. In: 5th Scandinavian Workshop on Applied Eye Tracking SWAET 2010. Lund, Sweden; 2010.
Vasilj, M. , M. A., Koesling, H., Sichelschmidt, L., & Rickheit, G. (2010). Remember the News? What we focus on is what we forget. 5th Scandinavian Workshop on Applied Eye Tracking SWAET 2010.
Vasilj, M. , M. A., Koesling, H., Sichelschmidt, L., and Rickheit, G. (2010). “Remember the News? What we focus on is what we forget” in 5th Scandinavian Workshop on Applied Eye Tracking SWAET 2010 (Lund, Sweden).
Vasilj, M., M.A., et al., 2010. Remember the News? What we focus on is what we forget. In 5th Scandinavian Workshop on Applied Eye Tracking SWAET 2010. Lund, Sweden.
M., M.A. Vasilj, et al., “Remember the News? What we focus on is what we forget”, 5th Scandinavian Workshop on Applied Eye Tracking SWAET 2010, Lund, Sweden: 2010.
Vasilj, M., M.A., Koesling, H., Sichelschmidt, L., Rickheit, G.: Remember the News? What we focus on is what we forget. 5th Scandinavian Workshop on Applied Eye Tracking SWAET 2010. Lund, Sweden (2010).
Vasilj, Marijana, M.A., Koesling, Hendrik, Sichelschmidt, Lorenz, and Rickheit, Gert. “Remember the News? What we focus on is what we forget”. 5th Scandinavian Workshop on Applied Eye Tracking SWAET 2010. Lund, Sweden, 2010.
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