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“Biologically, our eyes are more comfortable looking straight ahead, it's what is called the orbital reserve”
Professor Selin Atalay
In a new video, Selin Atalay, HEC Paris Assistant Professor in marketing explains what drives consumer decision, and analyses the impact on brands.
Nowadays, consumers face a large choice of products in supermarkets and online shopping. The current economic downturn has made the consumer's decision-making process more difficult. In a recent piece of research, Selin Atalay, HEC Paris Assistant Professor in marketing explored why shoppers choose the products from the center of displays.
In fact, the researchers simply look at what consumers look at,with the finding, that horizontal centrality is linked to visual attention (i.e., eyes resting upon an object). The research team proceeded by breaking down to the millisecond the eye movements of study participants.While making a choice in consumption online, the participants gazed more and longer at the products at the center of displays and tended to pick those same products (45.3% of the time) over those on the sides (on average 27.3% of the time).
Hardly surprising, though, that our gaze falls on the center of any new scene. “Biologically, our eyes are more comfortable looking straight ahead, it's what is called the orbital reserve,” says Selin Atalay. “Also, to get the widest account of what is in an area, the optimal position is looking in the middle, with our peripheral vision picking up the rest.”
But, when looking more closely at eye-movement patterns, it appears that the actual choice predictor is not the initial look at the center, which is pretty much systematic, but the final moments of the gazing process just before a decision is finalized. “The fixation converging onto the chosen option is called the gaze cascade effect,” the researcher explains, “and central gaze cascade effect when participants are more likely to focus on the central brand. Both effects add up.”