ACM - Computers in Entertainment

Effects of extra information on TV viewers' visual attention, message processing ability, and cognitive workload

By Jan Kallenbach, Silja Narhi, Pirkko Oittinen
Interactive TV, [Vol. 5, No. 2]

DOI: 10.1145/1279540.1279548

This article explores how viewers respond to and remember extra information shown on television. Its purpose is to investigate the effects of typical print content on TV viewers' visual attention, message processing ability, and cognitive workload when print content appears simultaneously with video. Test subjects looked at various video clips simultaneously with print, while variable text and graphics changed the structural complexity of the message. Data of psychophysiological measurements such as eye-tracking and skin-conductivity were obtained during the test; memory and cognitive workload measurements were self-reported afterwards. The results show that visual attention was equally balanced between video and print content for lengthy texts, whereas short texts with an increasing number of images caused subjects to look longer and more often at the video. Both video and text recognition were better on lengthy texts. Subjective cognitive workload data shows that lengthy texts resulted in higher ratings for psychological stress than short ones did. We conclude that variable text influences visual attention, memory, and cognitive workload more than pictorial information does; this conclusion supports the limited capacity model.

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