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Tob Regul Sci. 2016 Oct;2(4):377-403.

Eye Tracking Outcomes in Tobacco Control Regulation and Communication: A Systematic Review.

Author information

1
Research Specialist, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Department of Family Medicine, Chapel Hill, NC.
2
Project Manager, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, Chapel Hill, NC.
3
Clinical Librarian, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Health Sciences Library, Chapel Hill, NC.
4
Associate Professor, The Ohio State University College of Public Health, Division of Health Behavior and Health Promotion, Columbus, OH.
5
Physician, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Department of Family Medicine, Chapel Hill, NC.
6
Director, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Department of Family Medicine, Chapel Hill, NC.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

In this paper we synthesize the evidence from eye tracking research in tobacco control to inform tobacco regulatory strategies and tobacco communication campaigns.

METHODS:

We systematically searched 11 databases for studies that reported eye tracking outcomes in regards to tobacco regulation and communication. Two coders independently reviewed studies for inclusion and abstracted study characteristics and findings.

RESULTS:

Eighteen studies met full criteria for inclusion. Eye tracking studies on health warnings consistently showed these warnings often were ignored, though eye tracking demonstrated that novel warnings, graphic warnings, and plain packaging can increase attention toward warnings. Eye tracking also revealed that greater visual attention to warnings on advertisements and packages consistently was associated with cognitive processing as measured by warning recall.

CONCLUSIONS:

Eye tracking is a valid indicator of attention, cognitive processing, and memory. The use of this technology in tobacco control research complements existing methods in tobacco regulatory and communication science; it also can be used to examine the effects of health warnings and other tobacco product communications on consumer behavior in experimental settings prior to the implementation of novel health communication policies. However, the utility of eye tracking will be enhanced by the standardization of methodology and reporting metrics.

KEYWORDS:

advertising; eye tracking; health communication; health warnings; plain packaging; smoking; tobacco

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