Cultural differences in information seeking behaviors: evidence from an eye tracking study

April 14, 2013

Do people from different cultural backgrounds look at online information in the same way?

A very recent study – conducted with eye tracking technique – shows that Spaniard and Arab users have very different visual behaviors when attending information. In particular the experiment compared users scanning search results in Google. The results indicate that participants from the UAE (United Arab Emirates) spent more time on the search engine results page, read more results throughout the page and view each result in more details. In contrast the Spaniards read fewer options and typically attend more only the results on the top of the page.

Tha paper will be presented at the CHI 2013 workshop: Marcos, Mari-Carmen; GarcĂ­a-Gavilanes, Ruth; Bataineh, Emad; Pasarin, Lara. Using Eye Tracking to Identify Cultural Differences in Information Seeking Behavior. Workshop Many People, Many Eyes. CHI’13, April 27-May 2, 2013, Paris, France.

These results support the conceptualization of a previous article “In Prise of Cultural Bias” published on MIT Sloan Management review, positing that Knowledge Management and Information Systems need to be adapted to local cultures.

See the video (in Catalan):

Eye tracking

July 3, 2010

Eye tracking at the University of Oxford, department of Psychology.

The black tool at the bottom is the eye tracking machine, version 1200. The little violet dot on the screen is the position where the subject is currently looking at, tracked in real time. This pictue on the screen is used for the initial calibration, which needs to be done for each subject.

Eye tracking is increasingly used in the study of visual representations, human computer interaction, marketing, etc. I was amazed to learn that is now used to study political choice, and they found that democrats and republicans look at different parts of the same picture!! For example they look at the aggressor or at the victim. There are also remarkable gender differences on the focus of images.

A simple and very powerful tool for studying visual representations.

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