From visual prominence to event construal: influences (and non-influences) of eyegaze

AbstractPerceptual aspects of events, such as the visual prominence of event participants, have been shown to influence how people describe events. We investigate the relationship between such perceptual effects and patterns of eyegaze, focusing on a little-explored perceptual manipulation: the extent to which an event participant is wholly or partially visible. Using an eyetracking method, we found a correlation between this perceptual contrast and patterns of eyegaze at the beginning of the event but not the end. This finding adds support to the view that early visual attention to events has important downstream consequences for event conceptualization and linguistic description.

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