Looking at Buswell's pictures

  • Nicholas J. Wade University of Dundee
Keywords: eye movements, art perception, attention, individual differences, Buswell, Stratton, Judd, Yarbus


In 1935 Guy Buswell, an educational psychologist at Chicago University, published How People Look at Pictures. In it he recorded photographically the eye movements of 200 observers when looking at a wide variety of pictures. He analysed the overall distribution of fixations on pictures, compared the first few fixations on a picture to the last few, measured the durations of fixations made early in viewing and those made near the end of viewing, examined how fixation duration changed with viewing time, recorded the consistency between different observers when viewing the same picture and he looked at the influence of instructions given to observers upon their eye movements when viewing a picture. He commented on the substantial differences between individuals and noted that instructions had a dramatic effect on the pattern of eye movements. Buswell’s analysis was graphical rather than statistical. In this article Buswell’s figures are recombined and his research is placed in the context of earlier investigations of eye movements with pictures by Stratton and Judd and later ones by Yarbus.

How to Cite
Wade, N. J. (2020). Looking at Buswell’s pictures. Journal of Eye Movement Research, 13(2). https://doi.org/10.16910/jemr.13.2.4
Special thematic issue "Eye Tracking and Visual Arts"

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