Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Study on safety sentiments in Lincoln completed

In a recently completed MSc (Forensic psychology) dissertation project, Freya has examined how safe students feel when seeing images, while using an eye tracker to examine where people look when making such judgements. The study showed that images of Egham (Royal Holloway University) were rated as safer than images of Lincoln, and that these higher safety ratings were related to ratings of maintenance. Images of night scenes were rated lower on safety. While participants rated images for safety, they inspected street-lights to a larger extent than while they judged images for maintenance. Female participants reported higher levels of unsafe feelings compared to male participants, both in their overall ratings, as well as in their ratings of the different images. The results suggest that the council can improve safety sentiments by aiming for higher levels of maintenance and by better street lighting.
Example of one of the images with regions of interest used to analyse the eye movements.

New dissertation projects underway

Several new undergraduate dissertation projects are now being developed. Plans are made to use mouse tracking while people guess whether pairs of eyes are from violent or non-violent offenders and to ask people to rate their body satisfaction. Volunteers will be needed soon, so if you are interested in taking part, please get in touch with the contact details on my staff page.

Paper published on the central bias in day-to-day viewing

Our paper on the central bias in day-to-day viewing is now available online, at this address. In the study, participants navigated around the building, made tea, or sorted cards while wearing a mobile eye tracker (Tobii 2 glasses). Analysis of the data showed that people tended to shift their gaze by moving their heads so that the recorded gaze position was held in the middle of the head-centred video image. Moreover, this bias towards the centre was not influenced by the task. We propose that, in the absence of dedicated mobile eye tracking software, spy-glasses can provide a feasible means of guessing where people look in day-to-day tasks, by assuming that they mostly gaze at the central region of the head-centred image.

Lights night

On September the 30th, the lab had two exhibitions at the Lights Night public engagement event. In the first exhibition, participants were invited to walk the stairs wearing the Tobii 2 glasses mobile eye tracker, either while walking normally, or while writing a text on their phone. Play-back of the recorded eye movements showed that participants shifted their focus almost completely towards their phone while texting, showing that it is not safe to text and walk.

In the second exhibition, participants were invited to guess the calorie, saturated fat, sugar or sodium contents of a series of foods. Before some of the guesses, participants were asked to guess whether the amount was lower or higher than a given value. Previous work has shown that participants tend to be biased by these given amounts, an effect called anchoring. The demonstration also confirmed the 'health halo' effect, in which foods that are considered to be healthy are thought to be lower in calorie contents.

If you would like to give the second demonstration a try: the software can be found here. To run it on your PC, first install Opensesame from this link (version 2.9 is needed; it won't work on version 3.0).