The role of presentation order and orientation on information search and evaluations: An eye-tracking study


Previous research conducted by Bergus et al. (2002) identified that treatment evaluations are more negative when risks are presented last. Extending discussion of this order effect, the current study investigates this effect in tabular style displays, manipulating both order and orientation; and using eye-tracking methodology, explores the effect of these variables on the information search process. Analysis from eye-tracking data revealed a tendency to read information sets sequentially (i.e. read all risk information before transitions to the other set), which is stronger for the vertical orientation where switching between information sets is less common. Further, while balanced search was observed when benefits presented first, when presented with the risks first, search becomes more risk-heavy. Eye-tracking measures did not strongly predict treatment evaluations, although, when holding other variables constant, time proportion spent on benefits positively predicted treatment evaluations.

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