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Title: The role of visual attention in product selection
Author: Luca, Ruxandra Monica
ISNI:       0000 0004 7657 7981
Awarding Body: Imperial College London
Current Institution: Imperial College London
Date of Award: 2018
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The visual system is equipped with the ability to scan the environment for both threats and rewards. New and relevant objects draw more attention at the expense of old and irrelevant objects. Similarly, the online world barrages the consumer with pop-up advertisements (ads), some of which are more relevant than others. This research project explores why flashing ads attract attention in some, but not all, circumstances. Three main experiments, one replication, three pilot studies, and two pre-tests, were conducted. A mechanism of attention called Inhibition of Return (IOR) exemplifies how reaction time to a cue (ad) and a target (product) can be moderated by the timing between these two stimuli. In experiment 1, the spatial properties of IOR were observed, whereby participants were instructed to react to the location of a target. In experiment 2, participants were instructed to indicate the color of the target rather than its location. Both spatial and color IOR were observed. In experiment 3, participants responded to and rated unique objects. Color IOR became more prevalent because the complexity of the task increased. Overall, participants were faster to respond to the target when the cue appeared in the same location or shared the same color, but only under specific timing manipulations, which were reversible. These experiments demonstrated that visual disruptions can enhance and inhibit attention, depending on the timing of the stimuli, which can be used by website designers to optimize the timing of pop-ads.
Supervisor: Tuk, Mirjam ; Eisingerich, Andreas Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral