Special Issue Article
Distance Matters: Spatial Contiguity Effects as Trade-Off between Gaze Switches and Memory Load
Article first published online: 28 NOV 2012
Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Applied Cognitive Psychology
Special Issue: New Directions and Challenges to Cognitive Load Theory
Volume 26, Issue 6, pages 863–871, November/December 2012
How to Cite
Bauhoff, V., Huff, M. and Schwan, S. (2012), Distance Matters: Spatial Contiguity Effects as Trade-Off between Gaze Switches and Memory Load. Appl. Cognit. Psychol., 26: 863–871. doi: 10.1002/acp.2887
- Issue published online: 28 NOV 2012
- Article first published online: 28 NOV 2012
The present study combined the approaches of multimedia learning and of comparative visual search (Hardiess, Gillner, & Mallot, 2008) in order to analyse the processing of spatially separated information. Participants were asked to compare two depictions of a mechanical pendulum clock to detect no, one, or two differences between them. The spatial distance between the two depictions was varied, and participants received either stimulus-related information about the functionalities of pendulum clocks or stimulus-unrelated information about the design of cuckoo clocks. The study demonstrates a trade-off between gaze movement and working memory use. We observed fewer gaze shifts with increasing distance between the pictures, suggesting higher working memory use. The findings indicate that the distance between two pictures, domain knowledge and visual working memory span are important factors that determine memory load required for processing split information sources. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.