What You See Is What You Know: The Influence of Involvement and Eye Movement on Online Users’ Knowledge Acquisition

Jörg Haßler, Marcus Maurer, Corinna Oschatz


News websites have become a major source of information for citizens in Western countries. Although much research has focused on how Internet use affects knowledge acquisition, little is known about how individual websites are used and how that is connected to knowledge gain. This study focuses on how involvement affects attention and how recipients learn from individual website use, integrating theoretical perspectives of multimedia learning theory and the cognitive mediation model. To test our assumption, an eye-tracking experiment was combined with a log file analysis and an online survey. Our results show that users mostly focus on text on news websites, whereas multimedia elements (e.g., pictures or videos) are rarely used. Users’ involvement further influences fixations on the central text of a website. Moreover, knowledge acquisition can be explained primarily by the fixation duration on the central text.


eye tracking, online communication, cognitive mediation model

Full Text: