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Marketing Students Get an Eyeful
May 2005
BEDFORD, Mass., May 19 -- Marketing students in Ohio State University's School of Journalism and Communication were recently introduced to the science of eye tracking in a course using technology developed by Applied Science Laboratories (ASL), of Bedford, Mass.

Professor Matthew S. Eastin, PhD, used a remote eye tracking system manufactured by ASL in the course, "Investigating Communication through Interactive Technologies," to demonstrate how people search for information online and how images influence recall when reading an online news story. Eastin said the students will also use eye tracking to better understand what people pay attention to when they play video games.
Virginia Salem, ASL's director of customer relations, said one use for eye tracking might be to help determine if banner ad placement influences attention or behavioral differences, and that the same evaluation techniques can be applied to print media and advertising.

"Knowledge of eye tracking gives students marketable skills they can take with them to a marketing or advertising agency and apply to visual and graphics design principles," Salem said. "It's an up and coming science, with many applications across a wide variety of industries, such as medical and aerospace as well as marketing studies."

ASL's equipment uses a pupil/corneal reflection technique for measuring eye movements. It makes two different types of eye tracking systems: head-mounted systems for use in situations where a subject must have unrestricted head movement, and remote video eye tracking systems for use in situations where head-mounted optics are not necessary and the stimulus presented to the subject is limited to a single surface, such as a computer screen. The university owns a remote unit, which is typically mounted on a desk -- beside, for example, a computer monitor -- and tracks a subject's eye movements as the monitor is viewed.

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