With the support from Major Research Instrumentation, the eye-tracking system (SR Research EyeLink 1000 Plus) will be acquired. The project is built upon the interdisciplinary team of one visual cognition researcher and six decision science researchers at Drake University (Des Moines, Iowa). By integrating the well-established techniques in the visual cognition field, the system enables decision science researchers in the team (economics, marketing, accounting, actuarial science, information management) to examine cognitive mechanisms involved in decision-making processes with a finer resolution than eye-tracking methods typically employed in the fields of decision science research. The system allows researchers to investigate information-processing mechanisms that operate prior to conscious response. The project is designed not only to make real-world application of visual cognition research more accessible to students, but also to introduce students in the decision science field to a scientific approach of dealing with novel data acquired through systematic empirical investigations. Because decision science is uniquely concerned with how individuals make optimal choices based on available information, some decision scientists work exclusively with pre-existing data. The research team also recognizes that popular methods of recruiting students to the research lab through a single department has its limitation to reach out to underrepresented student populations. To promote diversity, equity and inclusion, multiple mechanisms to recruit and support a wide range of students are built in.
The questions pursued in the present project range across (1) how much attentional control one can exert during memory maintenance (visual cognition), (2) how different ways of presenting the nutrition information shapes one's decision-making process of food choice (marketing), (3) how the lack of opportunities affects one's cognitive mechanisms differently from resource scarcity (economics: psychology of poverty), (4) how a popular survey method (i.e., the choice experiment) can be optimized with powerful perceptual and cognitive manipulations (environmental economics), (5) how visual features of the voluntarily disclosed financial information can minimize the chance that the investors can be misled (accounting), (6) when individuals tend to stop processing the massive amount of disclosure information, and how visualization of the difficult-to-understand section would ease one's comprehension of the product (actuarial science), and (7) how search efficiency of the crucial information can be enhanced in the e-commerce context (information management).
This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.