The power of icons: An eye tracking evidence



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This dissertation examined the impact of iconic images on visual attention and political information processing. Two eye-tracking studies were conducted, the first study evaluated whether iconic images would draw attention prior to other images because of salient visual features or previous frequent exposure. The second study examined the join impact of iconic status, perceived severity, perceived importance, news knowledge, and trust in government on visual attention allocation. Results showed participants were more likely to select iconic images as the most representative images for historical events. However, when iconic images were presented together with non-iconic images, iconic images did not draw visual attention prior to non-iconic images. The anticipation nature of iconic photographs generated the highest level of perceived event severity, which in turn, produced longer fixation frequency and fixation duration on images and new articles containing these images and facilitated follow-up information seeking behavior.



Eye-tracking, Iconic images, Threat, Fear, International relations, Perceived severity and importance