Tracking Attention through Browser Mouse Tracking

Tracking Attention through Browser Mouse Tracking

Robert S. Owen (Texas A&M University-Texarkana, USA)
Copyright: © 2006 |Pages: 7
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-562-7.ch091
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There are different ways in which we have used the concept of attention with regard to human information processing and behavior (cf Kahneman, 1973). Attention could be taken to mean whatever one is thinking about, as when a student is lost in the thoughts of daydreaming rather than paying attention to the teacher’s lesson. Attention can also be associated with where we are looking or that for which we are looking (cf Moray, 1969), as when a flashing Web advertisement takes your attention or when one is mentally focused on searching through a Web page to find information. This attention switching or attention movement perspective on attention (cf Broadbent, 1957) is of most interest in this article. A flashing Web banner advertisement could, by design, take our attention from where we had intended to focus, or a Web page could be designed such that it draws our interest and leads us to seek further information. If a person is looking in the wrong place to find what he or she wants, then it would be good for us to know about this. This article will review some theories of attention that are relevant to understanding how human attention processing mechanisms work with regard to these issues, and will review the basics of a method that can be used to track attention movement by tracking mouse movements in a browser. This method has grounding in well-established theory, and it can be used in a laboratory or can be used remotely with data saved to a server for replay.

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