Austen Smith

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Now showing 1 - 6 of 6
  • ItemOpen Access
    Proof of concept for a multi-method approach to evaluate the usability of websites with public health content: The case of Alzheimer association websites
    (Canadian Psychological Association, 2022-10-06) Friedrich, Trista, E.; Smith, Austen, K.; Hunter, Paulette, V.
    Methods for assessing usability are advancing rapidly, and include think-aloud protocols, objective measures such as task timing, and ultra-sensitive measures such as eye tracking and page recording. In this study, we provide proof-of-concept for the new, combined use of these three types of measures within a quasi-experimental paradigm focused on a question relevant to public health. The quasi-experiment specifically involved assessing the usability of four English-language Alzheimer websites from around the world (USA, UK, Ireland, Canada), all of which contained information about cognitive health. Participants completed two tasks; one requiring them to identify strategies to prevent dementia and another requiring them to locate a definition of Alzheimer’s disease. We hypothesized that the websites would have superior usability for the former task and inferior usability for the latter task. We also hypothesized positive correlations among eye tracking measures, simpler performance measures (e.g., task completion time), and subjective usability measures. We found that the new quasi-experimental protocol facilitated comparison of tasks and websites. It also facilitated interpretation by permitting comparison across measures. Overall, this study provides proof of concept for the use of this multi-method approach to evaluate the usability of websites. It also provides information that could potentially be used to advance further pilot or experimental hypothesis testing on this topic.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Is there an artistry to lighting? The complexity of illuminating three-dimensional artworks
    (American Psychological Association, 2021) Smith, Austen, K.; Sedgewick, Jennifer, R; Weiers, Bradley; Elias, Lorin, J.
    Painters tend to depict a leftward light source more often in works of art (Mamassian, 2008) and even non-artists will light a painting from the left (McDine, Livingston, Thomas, & Elias, 2011). This bias does not appear to persist across mediums, however, as Sedgewick, Weiers, Stewart, and Elias (2015) found a slight rightward lighting bias when non-artists illuminated three-dimensional (3D) sculptures. Given the unexpected finding from 3D stimuli and considering that the majority of aesthetics research uses stimuli which are two-dimensional (2D), we thought it prudent to attempt a replication of Sedgewick et al.’s findings with a simplified version of the sculpture lighting task. We also used the greyscales task, recruited a group of bilingual native right-to-left (RTL) readers, and made additional comparisons with professionally lit sculptures in native left-to-right (LTR) and RTL reading regions of the world. We found a left lighting bias among LTR professionals and an opposite right lighting bias among RTL professionals. LTR and RTL non-artists both showed no bias for lighting and a leftward bias on the greyscales task. However, both professionals in galleries and non-artists in the lab demonstrate congruency between posing and lighting directions. The attenuation of the leftward lighting bias, which is normally observed, may be related to the complexity of illuminating a sculpture. Illuminating more complex stimuli appears to extinguish the bias in non-artists, whereas the leftward lighting bias persists for more rudimentary stimuli from artists and non-artists alike.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Native reading direction influences lateral biases in the perception of shape from shading
    (Taylor & Francis, 2014-12-24) Smith, Austen, K.; Szelest, Izabela; Friedrich, Trista, E.; Elias, Lorin, J.
    Although neurologically normal individuals often exhibit leftward biases of perception and attention, known as pseudoneglect, factors such as lighting, spatial location and native reading direction have been found to modulate these biases. To investigate lighting and spatial biases in left-to-right and right-to-left readers search times were measured in a target finding task where lighting and target locations were manipulated. Target search times under upper-left lighting were significantly shorter than lower-left, upper-right and lower-right lighting among left-to-right readers. Right-to-left readers did not display the same leftward bias, even displaying significantly shorter search times under upper-right lighting than those of left-to-right readers. Significantly shorter search times for targets located in the upper-left quadrant (compared to other quadrants) were observed for left-to-right readers, while search times for upper-right located targets were significantly shorter for right-to-left readers compared to those of left-to-right readers. Participant scan times of stimuli divided into equal quadrants were monitored by an eye-tracking camera. Both groups displayed greater scan times in upper quadrants. These findings suggest that native reading direction modulates spatial and light perception biases resulting in weaker leftward, or a lack of lateral biases among right-to-left readers.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Book Review: Spatial Biases in Perception and Cognition by T. L. Hubbard
    (SAGE Publications, 2021-12-22) Smith, Austen, K.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Cultural differences in lateral biases on aesthetic judgments: The effect of native reading direction
    (Springer, 2018-03-17) Flath, Meghan, E.; Smith, Austen, K.; Elias, Lorin, J.
    Left-to right (LTR) or right-to-left (RTL) directionality bias has been proposed to influence individuals’ aesthetic preference for dynamic stimuli. Two general theoretical propositions attempt to account for this bias. One states that directionality bias is based on scanning habits due to cultural differences in native reading/writing direction, whereas the other proposition speculates that LTR motion bias occurs due to the right hemisphere’s specialization in visuospatial processing. The current study assessed the aesthetic preference bias present when native LTR and RTL readers evaluated fashion garments on the runway in LTR or RTL motion. The aim of the study was to assess aesthetic preference bias for a novel dynamic stimulus and the corresponding influence of biological and cultural factors. Native LTR and RTL readers viewed two blocks of 20 mirror-reversed video pairs with models wearing dresses on a runway. Participants indicated which dress within the mirror-reversed pair they preferred. LTR readers displayed a significant leftward aesthetic preference bias indicating a preference for dresses moving LTR. RTL readers did not display a significant aesthetic preference bias for dresses moving in either direction. These results further support the generalizability of aesthetic preference biases for novel dynamic stimuli and support seminal literature that argues the bias occurs due to a combination of hemispheric dominance and cultural differences in native reading/writing direction.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Take your seats: leftward asymmetry in classroom seating choice
    (Frontiers Media S.A., 2015-08-17) Harms, Victoria, L.; Poon, Lisa, J.O.; Smith, Austen, K.; Elias, Lorin, J.
    Despite an overall body symmetry, human behavior is full of examples of asymmetry, from writing or gesturing to kissing and cradling. Prior research has revealed that theatre patrons show a bias towards sitting on the right side of a movie theatre. Two competing theories have attempted to explain this seating asymmetry: one posits that expectation of processing demand drives the bias; the other posits that basic motor asymmetries drive the bias. To test these theories we assessed the real-world classroom seating choices of university students using photographs. A bias for students to choose seats on the left side of the classroom was observed, in contrast to the right side bias observed in theatre seating studies. These results provide evidence in support of a processing-expectation bias.