Date of Award

2015

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (Psychology) Honours

School

School of Psychology and Social Science

Faculty

Faculty of Health, Engineering and Science

First Advisor

Professor Craig Speelman

Abstract

Automaticity is a vital aspect of daily living, as it allows for tasks to be completed quickly and with the fraction of the cognitive load required for tasks that cannot be completed automatically. Task automaticity is commonly measured with reaction time, which is considered to be an indirect measure of behaviour. As more direct measures are becoming available, there is an opportunity to assess task automaticity in greater detail. The purpose of the current study was to determine whether eye movements change as participants reach task automaticity. The study involved 16 participants who were asked to complete the dot counting task while their eye movements were recorded. Each participant was presented with a stimulus that featured between 6 and 11 dots. Participants were required to indicate the number of dots presented on the screen by pressing a response pad as quickly as possible. The group results showed that the number of fixations and the overall fixation duration decreased as task proficiency increased. It was also found that a greater proportion of fixations was located in the centre of the stimulus as the task progressed. No changes were found in the mean fixation duration. An individual analysis highlighted performance differences between participants that could be due to factors such as strategy choice. The use of eye tracking and the evaluation of individual as well as group results provided richer insight into task automaticity and will assist in expanding the knowledge of this cognitive phenomenon. Having the ability to track task automaticity with eye tracking could also assist in school settings in situations where there is a need to determine skill proficiency.

Included in

Psychology Commons

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