Inefficient Eye Movements: Gamification Improves Task Execution, But Not Fixation Strategy

Warren R. G. James, Josephine Reuther, Ellen Angus, Alasdair D. F. Clarke, Amelia R. Hunt* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
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Decisions about where to fixate are highly variable and often inefficient. In the current study, we investigated whether such decisions would improve with increased motivation. Participants had to detect a discrimination target, which would appear in one of two boxes, but only after they chose a location to fixate. The distance between boxes determines which location to fixate to maximise the probability of being able to see the target: participants should fixate between the two boxes when they are close together, and on one of the two boxes when they are far apart. We “gamified” this task, giving participants easy-to-track rewards that were contingent on discrimination accuracy. Their decisions and performance were compared to previous results that were gathered in the absence of this additional motivation. We used a Bayesian beta regression model to estimate the size of the effect and associated variance. The results demonstrate that discrimination accuracy does indeed improve in the presence of performance-related rewards. However, there was no difference in eye movement strategy between the two groups, suggesting this improvement in accuracy was not due to the participants making more optimal eye movement decisions. Instead, the motivation encouraged participants to expend more effort on other aspects of the task, such as paying more attention to the boxes and making fewer response errors.
Original languageEnglish
Article number48
Number of pages14
Issue number3
Early online date18 Sept 2019
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding: This research was funded by the James S. McDonnell Foundation (scholar award to Amelia Hunt).


  • visual search
  • eye movements
  • attention
  • strategy
  • decision


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