Perceiving and using genre by form–an eye-tracking study

malcyclark's picture
TitlePerceiving and using genre by form–an eye-tracking study
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsClark, Malcolm, Ian Ruthven, and Patrik O'Brian Holt

This paper reports on an approach to the analysis of
genre recognition using eye-tracking. The researchers
focused on eight different types of e-mail, such as
calls for papers, newsletters and spam, which were
chosen to represent different genres. The study involved
the collection of oculographic behaviour data
metrics, such as fixations and saccades to highlight
the ways in which people view the features of genres.
We found that genre analysis based on purpose and
form (layout features, etc) was an effective means of
identifying the characteristics of these e-mails. The
research, carried out on a group of 24 participants,
highlighted their interaction with the e-mail texts
and the visual cues or features perceived as well as
the strategies they employed for the processing of the
texts. The results showed that readers can determine
the purpose and form of genres, that form and content
can occasionally be separable, that some features
cause fixations and that some readers are prompted to respond by using saccadic behaviour (e.g. regressive
saccades) over the shape of the e-mails (form).