A closer look: Studying the comparability of eye-trackers

Lisa Spitzer and Stefanie Müller will present their study on the comparability of eye-trackers at the Symposium on Eye Tracking Research & Applications (ETRA) 2022 in Seattle.

Various eye-trackers are available for research free of charge via the PsychLab offline service from the Leibniz Institute of Psychology (ZPID) in Trier.

The offline laboratory (PsychLab offline) of the Leibniz Institute of Psychology (ZPID) is fully equipped to conduct eye-tracking studies. This equipment is used to record eye and gaze movements, which can be evaluated according to the specific research question. 

The variety of eye-trackers is as diverse as the number of  possible research topics. This is precisely what researchers Lisa Spitzer and Stefanie Müller from the Leibniz Institute of Psychology (ZPID) investigated. "We wanted to determine the comparability of measurements recorded by different eye-tracking devices," says Lisa Spitzer, who is analyzing the data as part of her doctoral research in Open Science. "What interests us in the long term is the reproducibility of results—in this case the data collected by the different eye-tracking systems." 

For this study, subjects completed a test battery of different tasks while their eye movements were recorded using eye-tracking devices from three leading manufacturers. The results were then compared and contrasted for all eye-tracking devices. The three devices analyzed in this study were provided by ZPID. "As a result of our study it became clear that the quality of the data is comparable in many tasks, but each device has its own strengths and weaknesses," Lisa Spitzer reports. Thus, researchers can use the findings of this study to help them decide which eye-tracking model is most appropriate for addressing their own specific research objectives.

Lisa Spitzer was able to conduct her own study in the offline lab between two nationwide lockdowns. She will present the survey methodology and results at the ETRA in Seattle in June 2022. 

The offline lab at ZPID
The three eye-trackers are available for research free of charge via the PsychLab offline service, as are other models from the Leibniz Institute of Psychology (ZPID) in Trier. Interested researchers can apply to use them. "Especially with regard to the experimenter effect, which can potentially shape research outcomes, externally collected data are certainly valuable," says Lisa Spitzer. 

Open science and open access
Before data collection was initiated, the idea for the study was preregistered at https://prereg-psych.org/ (available under this DOI) to increase transparency in the research process. After data collection, the results have been made available in PsychArchives for secondary research. This is an essential aspect of the Open Science and Open Access philosophy guiding our work at the Leibniz Institute of Psychology," says Lisa Spitzer. The article about the study will be published by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), which hosts the ETRA.





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