Science news – Using an eye-tracker to assess the relevance of information sources

Science news – Using an eye-tracker to assess the relevance of information sources

Author: Luí­s Amorim – Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, Brazil

Co-author: Luisa Massarani – Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, Brazil

To advocate that social media today is of utmost importance to society and for the dissemination of information, including science information, is unnecessary. As some authors argue, the development of digital technologies has led to profound transformations in the way that the public learns about science and technology. One example is that there are a large number of adolescents who choose the Internet as a means of seeking scientific and technological information. In Brazil, a national survey involving 2,206 people aged 15-24 years shows that interest in science is high. The study also indicates that Google (79%) is the main platform young people use to access science and technology information, closely followed by YouTube (73%). WhatsApp and Facebook are also cited by more than half of young people as important tools.

Considering this, and the context of post-truth and fake news, our study uses an eye-tracker and a questionnaire to assess the relevance of information sources for the participants. The experiment was carried out at the Laboratoire des Usages en Technologies d’Information Informations, Paris, involving 23 participants with an average age of 20.5 years, who were divided into two groups. They read four different texts, two from reliable sources (Le Monde and Le Figaro) and two from unreliable sources (Alimentation, Santé et Bien Être, and Santé Nutrition). In one of the groups, there was a manipulation: participants read Le Monde and Le Figaro texts with an indication of unreliable sources and vice versa. Our data indicate that in both groups, there are few fixations (an eye movement that suggests the attention of the readers) on the name of the publication and that the source of information does not appear to have much influence on their willingness to share a story.

The author has not yet submitted a copy of the full paper.

Presentation type: Insight talk
Theme: Technology