The relationship between choice and eye movement has gained marked interest. The gaze bias effect, i.e., the tendency to look longer at items that are eventually chosen, has been shown to occur in the first dwell (initial cohesion of fixations for an item). In the two-alternative forced-choice (2AFC) paradigm, participants would look at one of the items first (defined as first look; FL), and they would then move and look at another item (second look; SL). This study investigated how the order in which the chosen items were looked at modulates the first dwell gaze bias effect. Participants were asked to assert their preferences and perceptual 2AFC decisions about human faces (Experiment 1) and daily consumer products (Experiment 2), while their eye movements were recorded. The results showed that the first dwell gaze bias was found only when the eventually chosen item was looked at after another one; the chosen item was looked at for longer as compared to the not-chosen item in the SL, but not in the FL. These results indicate that participants actively allocate more time to looking at a subsequently chosen item only after they perceive both items in the SL. Therefore, the selective encoding seems to occur in the early comparison stage of visual decision making, and not in the initial encoding stage. These findings provide insight into the relationship between choice and eye movement.
ASJC Scopus subject areas