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Recognizing Decision-Making Using Eye Movement: A Case Study With Children

  • Rojas, Juan-Carlos1
  • Marín-Morales, Javier2
  • Ausín Azofra, Jose Manuel2
  • Contero, Manuel2
  • 1 Escuela de Arquitectura, Arte y Diseño, Tecnologico de Monterrey, Monterrey , (Mexico)
  • 2 I3B – Instituto de Investigación e Innovación en Bioingeniería, Universitat Politècnica de València, Valencia , (Spain)
Published Article
Frontiers in Psychology
Frontiers Media SA
Publication Date
Sep 24, 2020
DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2020.570470
PMID: 33071901
PMCID: PMC7543050
PubMed Central


The use of visual attention for evaluating consumer behavior has become a relevant field in recent years, allowing researchers to understand the decision-making processes beyond classical self-reports. In our research, we focused on using eye-tracking as a method to understand consumer preferences in children. Twenty-eight subjects with ages between 7 and 12 years participated in the experiment. Participants were involved in two consecutive phases. The initial phase consisted of the visualization of a set of stimuli for decision-making in an eight-position layout called Alternative Forced-choice. Then the subjects were asked to freely analyze the set of stimuli, they needed to choose the best in terms of preference. The sample was randomly divided into two groups balanced by gender. One group visualized a set of icons and the other a set of toys. The final phase was an independent assessment of each stimulus viewed in the initial phase in terms of liking/disliking using a 7-point Likert scale. Sixty-four stimuli were designed for each of the groups. The visual attention was measured using a non-obstructive eye-tracking device. The results revealed two novel insights. Firstly, the time of fixation during the last four visits to each stimulus before the decision-making instant allows us to recognize the icon or toy chosen from the eight alternatives with a 71.2 and 67.2% of accuracy, respectively. The result supports the use of visual attention measurements as an implicit tool to analyze decision-making and preferences in children. Secondly, eye movement and the choice of liking/disliking choice are influenced by stimuli design dimensions. The icon observation results revealed how gender samples have different fixation and different visit times which depend on stimuli design dimension. The toy observations results revealed how the materials determinate the largest amount fixations, also, the visit times were differentiated by gender. This research presents a relevant empirical data to understand the decision-making phenomenon by analyzing eye movement behavior. The presented method can be applied to recognize the choice likelihood between several alternatives. Finally, children’s opinions represent an extra difficulty judgment to be determined, and the eye-tracking technique seen as an implicit measure to tackle it.

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