Staff eye-tracking research

A number of studies conducted by staff working in the areas of language testing, second language acquisition, and psycholinguistics make use of eye-tracking as part of the methodology. Click here for student projects.

On-going staff projects

Investigating the integrated and independent TOEFL iBT writing tasks: Test-taker behaviors, underlying cognitive processes, and their relationships to text quality

  • Who? Marije Michel (Lancaster University, UK), Andrea Révész (University College London, UK)
  • What? In this project we investigate the cognitive validity of the independent and integrated TOEFL iBT writing tests using an innovative combination of eye-tracking, key-stroke logging and stimulated recall measuring test performances of L2 users of B1 to C1 CEFR language proficiency.

EyeAnt – a tool to measure eye-movements in dynamic contextsEye ant logo

  • Who? Marije Michel (Lancaster University, UK), Laurence Anthony (Waseda University Tokyo, Japan)
  • What? In this project, we are developing a tool that will allow measuring eye-movements in dynamic contexts, such as computer-mediated communication, webpage reading, or writing from a prompt.
  • Research output
    • Anthony, L., & Michel, M. (2016, March). Introducing EyeChat: A data collection tool for eye-tracking computer mediated communication. Talk given at the UCREL Research Seminar, Lancaster University (UK).

screenshot of eye tracking studySecond language use and development during text-chat. An eye tracking investigation into noticing, primed production and language learning during written computer mediated peer interaction

  • Who? Marije Michel (Lancaster University, UK), Bryan Smith (Arizona State University, USA)
  • What? In this study, eye tracking is used to investigate what second language learners look at while they are using text chat to discuss with each other on a collaborative writing task.
  • Research output
    • Michel, M., & Smith, B. (submitted). Measuring lexical alignment during L2 peer interaction via written synchronous computer-mediated communication – An eye-tracking study. In S. Gass, P. Spinner, & J. Behney (Eds.), Salience and SLA. Routledge.
    • Michel, M. & Smith, B. (2017). Eye-tracking research in computer-mediated language learning. In S. Thorne and S. May (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Language and Education: Language and Technology. Heidelberg, Deutschland: Springer.
    • Michel, M. (2016, Nov). Eye tracking text chat in a second language. Plenary given at the 3rd International Conference on Cognitive Research on Translation, Interpreting and Language Acquisition, Macao.
    • Michel, M., & Smith, B. (2015, Sep). Eye movements during L2 written computer chat interaction. Paper presented at the Task-Based Language Teaching (TBLT) conference, Leuven (Belgium).
    • Michel, M. (2015, June). Eye movements during L2 written computer chat interaction. Paper presented at the CRELLA/LU eye tracking research day, University of Bedfordshire (UK).
    • Michel, M., Smith, B., & Mackey, M. (2014, Sep). Eye tracking L2 interaction during written synchronous computer-mediated communication – a qualitative exploration. Paper presented at the EuroSLA conference, York (UK).
    • Michel, M., Smith, B., & Mackey, M. (2013, March). Primed production during SCMC: An eye tracking study. Paper presented at AAAL, Portland, Oregon (USA).

Completed staff projects

A longitudinal look at mental language and False Belief

  • Who? Ditte Boeg Thomsen (Lancaster University, UK), Silke Brandt (Lancaster University, UK), Birsu Kandemirci (Lancaster University, UK), Anna Theakston (University of Manchester, UK)
  • What? This eye-tracking study is part of a bigger project which aims to shed more light on the causal and temporal relationships between children’s language development and their understanding of others’ minds and beliefs. This so-called false-belief understanding can be measured explicitly (asking children direct test questions, such as “where will she look for the ball?”) or implicitly. In the implicit tests, children will watch a video where a character is also searching for an object. But instead of asking a direct test question, children are expected to just look towards the location where they expect the character to search for the object

Attentional processing of different types of written L2 input and its relationship with learners’ working memory capacity – an extension

screenshot of eye tracking studyExternal validation of task complexity – using eye tracking, dual task methodology and subjective measures of task demands.

  • Who? Marije Michel (Lancaster University, UK), Andrea Révész (Institute of Education, University of London, UK), Roger Gilabert (Universidad de Barcelona, Spain)
  • What? This project investigated whether eye movements can be a good means to measure cognitive processing and mental effort during complex communicative speaking tasks.
  • Research output
    • Michel, M., Gilabert, R., & Révész, A. (submitted) Eye-tracking and stimulated recall as means of investigating cognitive load and processes during L2 task performance.
    • Michel, M., Révész, A., & Gilabert, R. (2014, Aug). Eye movement prompts in stimulated recall: tapping cognitive processes based on audio vs. visual stimuli. Paper presented at AILA, Brisbane (Australia).
    • Michel, M., Révész, A., & Gilabert, R. (2013, Oct). The effects of task complexity manipulations on cognitive processes: What do we learn from stimulated recall and eye-tracking data? Invited colloquium paper at the 5th TBLT conference, Banff (Canada).
    • Michel, M. (2013, Sep). Eye-tracking and the independent measurement of task complexity: Evidence from German EFL learners. Invited talk at GRAL, Barcelona (Spain).

screenshot of eye tracking writing taskInvestigating IELTS Academic Writing Task 2: Relationships between cognitive writing processes, text quality, and working memory

  • Who? Marije Michel (Lancaster University, UK), Andrea Révész (Institute of Education, University of London, UK)
  • What? This study took a closer look at test takers’ looking behaviour while performing on the IELTS writing task. The screen recordings of the eye movements were used to perform stimulated recall sessions. Eye tracking data was triangulated with information from key stroke logging and linked to writing products. This project was externally funded by the British Council as part of the 2014-15 IELTS Funded Research Programme.
  • Research output

screenshot of eye tracking studyLooking into reading: Test-takers’ cognitive processing during reading test completion

  • Who? Tineke Brunfaut (Lancaster University, UK), Gareth McCray (Lancaster University, UK)
  • What? This study examined test-takers’ cognitive processing whilst completing reading comprehension tasks. By means of a combination of eye-tracking and stimulated recalls, cognitive processing was investigated in general, and also depending on reading task type, test-takers’ ESL proficiency and their ESL reading proficiency. This project was externally funded by a British Council Aptis Assessment Research Grant 2013.
  • Research Output

screenshot of eye tracking study heat mapLooking into reading II: A follow-up study on test-takers’ cognitive processing during reading test completion

Modelling second language reading proficiency using eye-tracking measures

To learn about our students’ projects involving eye-tracking, please click here.