A tool for tracking visual attention: the Restricted Focus Viewer

Anthony R Jansen, Alan F Blackwell, Kim George Marriott

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    46 Citations (Scopus)


    Eye-tracking equipment has proven useful in examining the cognitive processes people use when understanding and reasoning with visual stimuli. However, eye-tracking has several drawbacks: accurate eye-tracking equipment is expensive, it is often awkward for participants, it requires frequent recalibration, and the data can be difficult to interpret. We introduce an alternative tool: theRestricted Focus Viewer (RFV). This is a computer program that takes an image, blurs it, and displays it on a computer monitor, allowing the participant to see only a small region of the image in focus at any time. The region in focus can be moved using the computer mouse. The RFV records what the participant is focusing on at any point in time. It is cheap, nonintrusive, does not require calibration, and provides accurate data about which region is being focused on. We describe this tool and also provide experimental comparisons with eye-tracking. The RFV (Version 2.1) is freely available at http://www.csse.monash.edu. au/projects/RFV/.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)57-69
    Number of pages13
    JournalBehavior Research Methods Instruments & Computers
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2003

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