Knight Center researcher examines cognitive impacts of screen size
Doctoral candidate Carie Cunningham, who is part of the Knight Center’s research collaborative, will discuss the impact of viewing screen size on cognition at the National Communication Association Nov. 20-23 in Chicago.
Here is an abstract of her presentation:
As technology evolves, television consumers are acquiring many more viewing options. Gone are the days of a single, stationary television set with limited programming. Today, consumers have many more options in the programming, as well as, how and where those programs can be delivered. Those options include, but are not limited to, a wide variety of viewing devices such as smart phones, laptops, and a host of other electronic devices that heretofore served primarily as game or music players. A common practice in television news is having the exact same video that is seen on television to also be displayed on other media devices like computers or cell phones. This practice assumes a ‘one-size-fits-all’ effect, where all video players play the same visuals regardless of screen size or viewing distance. This practice of using the same video is assumed to capture attention in the same way despite the different devices.
While the content of advertisements may be consistent over different devices, the devices themselves have significantly varying screen sizes. These differences present a very real challenge i.e., do these differences affect how viewers interpret the video content? This paper turns to cognitive science, specifically Feature Integration Theory, to help explain the attention behaviors of media consumers. To understand the phenomenon, this paper proposed a two-‐prong approach to data collection using survey and portable eye tracker measures. The researchers are in the initial stages of collecting data.
This research was supported with funding from the College of Communication Arts & Sciences and the Graduate School of Michigan State University.