Eye Movements Indicate the Temporal Organisation of Information Processing in Graph Comprehension
Article first published online: 12 FEB 2014
Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Applied Cognitive Psychology
Volume 28, Issue 3, pages 360–373, May/June 2014
How to Cite
Körner, C., Höfler, M., Tröbinger, B. and Gilchrist, I. D. (2014), Eye Movements Indicate the Temporal Organisation of Information Processing in Graph Comprehension. Appl. Cognit. Psychol., 28: 360–373. doi: 10.1002/acp.3006
- Issue published online: 6 APR 2014
- Article first published online: 12 FEB 2014
- Manuscript Accepted: 17 DEC 2013
- Manuscript Revised: 5 DEC 2013
- Manuscript Received: 11 FEB 2013
Hierarchical graphs (e.g. file system browsers and preference trees) represent objects (e.g. files and folders) as graph nodes and relations between them (e.g. sub-folder relations) as lines. We investigated the temporal organisation of two processes that are necessary for comprehending such graphs—search for the graph nodes and reasoning about their relation. We tracked eye movements to change graphs while participants interpreted them. In Experiment 1, we masked the graph at a time when search processes had finished but reasoning was hypothetically ongoing. We observed a dramatic deterioration in comprehension compared with unmasked graphs. In Experiment 2, we changed the relation between critical graph nodes after search for them had finished, unbeknownst to participants. Participants mostly based their response on the graph as presented after the change. These results suggest that comprehension processes are organised in a sequential manner, an observation that can potentially be applied to the interactive presentation of graphs. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.