Generational differences in viewing behaviors: an eye-tracking study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Many scholars over the past two decades have contended that constant exposure to visually-oriented technologies makes younger individuals inherently more visually skilled than previous generations. The study presented here investigates this claim by using eye tracking to examine patterns in the ways in which individuals interact with visual stimuli, specifically journalistic photographs. Study participants included 29 college students aged 18–22 (mean = 19), and 20 non-student members of the university and surrounding community, aged 40–63 (mean = 50). Eye movements were recorded using a TobiiPro x2-60 eye tracker connected to a 17-inch gaming laptop. If younger individuals and older individuals have different levels of visual ability, there should be observable differences between the eye movements of the two groups. However, the differences observed between the two groups of participants were very limited and did not point to any consistent patterns that would suggest differing levels of skill at reading images.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalVisual Communication
StateAccepted/In press - 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • digital natives
  • eye tracking
  • viewing patterns
  • visual literacy
  • visual skill

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts


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