Analysis of Gaze on Word Search Puzzles

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Figure 1 Stimuli control crossword puzzle with only the Figure 2 Stimuli crossword puzzle with the word house as. word house well as five other distraction words, points will be found Therefore the longer it will take to complete. the puzzle, Furthermore due to this fact when comparing search times based. on number of words in the word search puzzles it is most likely. best to ensure the target words are oriented the same way either. horizontally or vertically This way confounding variables due to. words placed in certain orientations being easier to find is avoided. Finally Kirsten Cater 2 discusses that the fovea of the eye that. is the area of highest visual acuity is only about two degrees or. the area of about eight letters on a standard page Or the area of. your vision your thumbnail takes up at arms length So words Figure 3 Participant at workstation viewing the results of. that use letters of the same size with similar lengths should take the experiment the GazePoint Eye Tracker is mounted un. roughly the same time to process by the eye since they will take the derneath the Dell computer monitor. same number of fixations to resolve This also means that keeping. a relatively wide buffer between letters in the word search puzzle. and therefore words in the should reduce the participant s ability 4 2 Stimuli. to process multiple words or characters within the same fixation The stimuli used were a pair of crossword puzzles Each puzzle was. constructed using a 26 x 15 grid as shown in Figure 1 and Figure 2. 3 HYPOTHESIS Each letter had a font size of 48pt with the font type being Franklin. When the participant is viewing the control stimulus they will find Gothic Medium and a font style of regular A single instance of. the desired word quicker due to pop out effect 7 whereas the the word house was placed in each crossword puzzle so that its. distraction filled stimulus would not be influenced by this effect and location was different from one another to avoid the participants. would take longer for the participant to complete In this experiment identifying a pattern that would help them solve the subsequent. the null hypothesis is that pop out effect will not have any puzzle quicker In the crossword puzzle used as the control stimuli. influence on how long the participant takes to find the target word as well in the crossword puzzle used as the experiment stimuli the. word house was oriented in such a way that it is read horizontally. from left to right The crossword puzzle used as the control stimuli. was designed in such a way so that it contained no English words. 4 1 Participants longer than two letters except for the word house Five five letter. For this study participants were selected from a pool of Clemson words beach catch fruit happy and lodge were inserted into the. University students and members of the surrounding community crossword puzzle used as the experiment stimuli Each of these. between the ages of 18 and 45 Volunteers were contacted through five words were oriented in such a way that they are read either. email class announcements and face to face interaction Partici horizontally from left to right or vertically from top to bottom. pants were only selected if they have normal or corrected to normal and did not intersect the word house The crossword puzzles were. vision We planned to recruit 15 participants to the study but ended generated using Adobe Photoshop CS4. up with 13 9 male and 4 female by the end of the study While the. purpose of this experiment was hidden from the participants the 4 3 Experimental Design. task that they were expected to perform was explained prior to the A counterbalanced factorial design and within subject variables. experiment start were used in this study Two different stimulus were presented. to participants and each participant was presented each stimuli. Participants were shown a blank screen in between stimuli to take. advantage of change blindness 2 describes this effect by showing. that participants are unlikely to notice changes to very similar. scenes such as two word search puzzles if they are not focused on. the location that changes An example of a presented stimulus is. Figure 1 and Figure 2 All participants were shown the mentioned. figure and a similar stimulus with added distractions In order to. counterbalance the study the order in which the stimulus were. presented was randomized, Figure 4 The average time take to find the goal word. 4 4 Apparatus, Participants interacted with the word search puzzles through the. Gazepoint software The puzzles were in picture format using Pho. toshop picture editor A Dell 22 monitor with a 1920 x 1080 reso. lution was used The participants were seated at a distance of 24. inches from the monitor The GazePoint eye tracker was mounted. under the display to pick up eye movement and pupil diameter This. can be seen in Figure 3 The sampling rate is 60Hz with a latency. of 16ms and an accuracy of 0 5 1 0 degrees,4 5 Procedure.
The participants were first greeted and asked to sit down in front of. the computer monitor and eyetracker Participants were informed Figure 5 Box and whisker plots of the participants du. on the procedure of the experiment Then they were given an in ration of fixation for each portion of the experiment. formational letter describing possible risks benefits of the study. and legal information We then asked the participants to answer a. questionnaire to gather demographic information about their age After the participant looked at the blank page and was ready to. occupation and gender The personal information about partici continue the second stimuli was shown on the screen Participants. pants was not collected and their names were replaced with ID were asked to search for the same word house which was now. numbers surrounded by other distractor words After the experiment partic. After gathering this information and giving the participant the ipants were informed of the actual purpose of the word search and. informational letter we went through the process to setup the eye any questions they had regarding the study were answered. tracker This process included positioning the eye tracker so that. it was centered on the participants pupils Then calibration was 5 RESULTS. performed by getting the participant to look at five to nine points Eye movement data that was collected by the Gazepoint Analysis. on the screen while the eye tracker tracked their eye movement A software was exported as a csv file and examined for statistical. common error when performing this calibration process was that significance The data was analyzed with metrics for amount of. the calibration dots were not positioned correctly on the screen fixations on the goal word how long the duration of gaze was on. throwing off the calibration of the eye tracker This error can be the goal word and when the participant found the goal word in. corrected by selecting the correct display size on the GazePoint order to uncover additional information from the study. software The overall process of calibration took about five minutes Figure 4 shows that participants were able to locate the goal. After this portion of the setup process is completed we began the word much quicker in the experimental word search puzzle than the. experiment An initial blank page was shown on the screen to make control word search puzzle On average the seek time in the control. sure that the participant did not see the crossword puzzle before was 30 5347 seconds and the experiment seek time was 16 675. the eye tracking software had been initiated or before they were seconds This increased speed can be explained by the participants. ready to begin Once ready to begin the first stimuli was shown on becoming familiar with word search environment 5. the screen and the participant was asked to find the word house Figure 4 illustrates that distractor words had a very short median. in the word search The eye tracker followed the participants gaze fixation duration of 0 2913 seconds In comparison to the actual. as they completed the word search puzzle goal words median fixation duration 0 5750 seconds in the con. After the participant completed the puzzle and the eye tracking trol it appears that participants were not hung up for long by the. data was collected a blank page was shown This blank page distraction words planted in the word search. prevents the word on the first puzzle from drawing attention to Table 1 above shows that it took participants on average 2 2658. the words on the second puzzle by taking advantage of change seconds of fixation time to recognize the goal word When viewing. blindness 2 the experimental word search it took the same group of participants. Avg Number Avg Time to Avg Time of,of Fixations Recognize Fixation on. Goal Word Goal Word,Control 2 2 2658 1 1329,Experimental 1 4615 0 7491 0 5126. Table 1 Shows the average number of fixations average time. to fixate on the goal word and the average time to fixate any. on average 0 7491 seconds of fixation time to find the same goal. word This data set takes into account times that they fixated on Figure 6 Participant 7 used a rigid search pattern when at. the word and did not recognize it to be the goal An unpaired t test tempting to find the specified word This method resulted in. was performed on the fixation times shown above are significantre a long seek time to find the goal word. turning p 0042 which indicates that there is a significant. difference between our two fixation times This p value means that. we will reject our null hypothesis Our null hypothesis would be. that there is no correlation between the distraction words and the. time it takes to find the target word,6 DISCUSSION. The results from our study do not support the hypothesis that words. in the control stimulus would be found quicker due to pop out. effect whereas the distraction filled stimulus would not be influ. enced by this effect and it would take longer for the participant to. complete This could be due to participants growing familiar with. the format of our word search puzzle and therefore performing. better on the second puzzle which for all participants was our ex Figure 7 Participant 2 used a random search pattern to find. perimental stimulus containing the target word house and the specified word This method resulted in a short seek time. the five additional distraction words This phenomena is explored to find the goal word. by John Henderson 4 where he describes that the consistency of. objects within the coherence of and the participants familiarity. of the scene improves their search efficiency of that scene The Future work could be done to test the search speed of crossword. first puzzle our control takes more time because the format of the puzzles based on the target words proximity to other valid words. puzzle is novel to the participant but since the second puzzle our That is the search speed of a participant finding the the target word. experimental stimulus looks extremely similar the participants when it is surrounded by distraction words within 10 characters. new found familiarity increased their efficiency of itself vs the speed when all words are as far away from the. With this in mind we believe always presenting the stimuli in target word and each other as possible Research into this would be. the order of control followed by the experimental introduced a especially interesting due to the fact that while our results indicate. confounding variable to the experiment Therefore future work that moving distraction words further from the target word could. into this subject could focus on randomly selecting the order of potentially decrease search speed it goes almost directly against. stimulus to show participants to see if the results are the same as Henderson 5 who states that clutter that is moving the distraction. what we found If they are that would be a strong indication that words closer should decrease search speed. we are able to identify words faster in a crossword containing other We also noticed two distinct search patterns from our partici. valid words than one containing only one valid word Otherwise it pants Figure 6 and Figure 7 show two of the different approaches. would show that the order of our stimulus did indeed introduce a that the participants took to find the goal word From the recordings. confounding variable into our experiment that were obtained we found that participants that did not use a. Our results could also be explained by the findings of Ojanp recognizable search pattern such as participant 2 in Figure 7 found. N s nen and Kojo 3 They found that the speed at which words the word faster than ones that did We believe this means that the. can be found increases when multiple words can be processed in a target word did have a pop out effect for these participants but. single fixation In our experimental stimuli the goal word house not for the others who who used rigid search patterns such as. is located near enough to the distractor word catch that they both Participant 7 in Figure 6 This could be due to the goal word being. could potentially have been viewed in a single fixation This may oriented closer to the middle of the word search where most of. have introduced another confounding variable by increasing the the participants that showed random searcher patterns began at. participants chance of finding the word house if they found the as opposed t. similar to each other 5 Word search puzzles are designed to take advantage of this effect by cluttering words with fields of letters Additionally word search puzzles are designed so that all the letters are evenly spaced and evenly sized to increase difficulty due to crowding It stands to reason that this effect can also be extended to show

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