City Research Online

Eye-tracking Film Music

Mera, M. & Stumpf, S. (2014). Eye-tracking Film Music. Music and the Moving Image, 7(3), pp. 3-23. doi: 10.5406/musimoviimag.7.3.0003


Film music scholars, composers, directors and audiences have always implicitly believed that music can help determine the focus of an audience’s visual attention, but researchers have not as yet been able to prove this empirically. Eye-tracking research—the process of measuring either the point of gaze or the motion of the eyes—has grown exponentially in recent years. This paper reports on a foundational, empirical eye-tracking study that examined the effects of contextual musical attributes on visual attention, emotion and user experience during exploration tasks in moving images. Our results show that music is able to direct how we see by switching attention to target foci more quickly as well as lengthening fixations, and that music can also encourage greater exploration of visual scenes outside targets. Our work contributes the first step in understanding how music shapes visual attention using eye-tracking techniques. We encourage wider adoption of this approach which has the potential to enhance understanding of the complex processes of audiovisual perception in action.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: Final version published by UI Press,
Departments: School of Communication & Creativity > Performing Arts > Music
SWORD Depositor:
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