Journal of Behavioral Decision Making

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Guiding Decision Makers' Eye Movements with (Un)Predictable Object Locations


We propose a new approach for guiding eye movements by controlling the predictability of object locations. We hypothesize that when a high (low) relevance object has a predictable location, observers are more (less) likely to fixate it compared with objects in unpredictable locations. We tested this hypothesis in three decision‐making studies, manipulating the location of a product label in an unpredictable, a predictable, and a mixed visual environment. In Study 1 and Study 2, we find that participants are less likely to fixate a low and medium relevance label in a predictable location, and in Study 3, we find that participants are more likely to fixate a high relevance label in a predictable location. Our findings suggest that predictable locations increase while unpredictable locations decrease top‐down control. The approach can be used to increase or decrease eye movements towards specific information depending on the goals of the choice architect. Copyright © 2017 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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