Franziska Marquart / Jörg Matthes

Measuring Selective Reading Behavior – An Eye-Tracking Approach

When measuring the exposure to and use of mediated information in communication research, scholars face a variety of methodological problems when relying on subjects’ self-reports. In response to the growing concerns associated with these problems, we report the results of a study that investigated the possibility of using eye‐tracking as an additional methodological tool to assess the exposure to and effects of media content in the context of selective attention research. Our findings provide limited evidence for the idea that selective exposure is a driving force on the level of news reading, but show that reading behaviour may influence post-exposure attitudes in some instances. We discuss these results in the light of the methodological opportunities and challenges that come with the use of eye-tracking research. We argue that the method may be a promising avenue for future research, but that scholars need to take its limitations into account as well.