How Eye Tracking Can Be Well-matched for Each Type of Research

It is often said that, ‘an eye is a window to the soul’, but they’re also the door to knowledge about how people collect information and what impacts their decisions and actions. Today, with the help of modern eye tracking technology we are able to gather an extraordinary sum of insight into the human mind. Eye tracking is the process of evaluating eye movements in order to define a person’s direction and duration of sight, and at a particular object. Eye tracking is commonly used by businesses and researchers involved in the field of psychology and neuroscience, which is considered to be the most appropriate way of accurate measuring and comprehending visual attention.

The Benefits of Eye Tracking in Research

Eye tracking is the only method that can be used to accurately and objectively record and evaluate visual behavior. It would be impossible to ask someone scan aisles of a supermarket to recall, let alone quantify, the amount of time they spent looking at every item, or even exactly where they sought, or advertisements that they noticed most.

Eye tracking allows researchers to study the movements of a participant’s eyes during a range of activities. This gives insight into the cognitive processes, underlying a wide variety of human behavior and can reveal things such as learning patters and social interaction methods. It also enables screening of atypical neurodevelopment, and cognitive or perceptual disabilities. Eye tracking technology also provides a way for young children, and those with neurological impairments, who are unable to explain their thought processes, to participate in studies.

Main Applications of Eye Tracking in Research

While there are a wide range of applications for this research methodology and technology, there are several that use eye tracking expansively. These include:

User Experience – No better way can be defined to test user experience than to view it through the eyes of the user. The use of eye tracking can be made to study the way in which services and platforms are used, and how effectively their goals are delivered. Eye tracking can disclose methods of use, design flaws and even aspects that may not have been marked in the creative process.

Market Research – Eye tracking enables obtaining unbiased and detailed information on processes related to consumer behaviors & decision making capabilities. The technology further facilitates the market researchers and brand owners in studying consumer perception toward selection of a product, including areas that attracted their attention naturally or inadvertently as well as the ones that were ignored. Unlike questionnaires or surveys, eye tracking details authentic behavior, which is useful when branding, designing advertising, packaging and product placement.

Academic ResearchEye tracking enables gaining valuable insights into development, learning patterns and signs of cognitive dysfunction or disease such as autism, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, brain injury, schizophrenia, and depression. Dyslexia and several other reading or learning difficulties can also be studied and identified by using the eye tracking technology.

Professional Performance – Eye tracking is used by businesses to identify safety risks, operational inefficiencies, and to streamline training, thereby enabling the owners in saving time and improving productivity. On similar lines sports professionals can leverage the technology for identifying key challenges and strategies that can be employed for performance improvement. Eye tracking gives a unique snapshot into tasks and actions which are carried out quickly, and often subconsciously. With the video playback and gaze mapping, it’s possible to break complex and rapid processes into digestible information which can be studied and turned into training material.

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About the Author

Nikhil Kaitwade

With over 8 years of experience in market research and consulting industry, Nikhil has worked on more than 250 research assignments pertaining to chemicals, materials and energy sector. He has worked directly with about 35 reputed companies as lead consultant for plant expansion, product positioning, capacity factor analysis, new market/segment exploration, export market opportunity evaluation and sourcing strategies.

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