Cognitive Biases and Gaze Direction: An Experimental Study
This paper investigates the validity of the model of dual processing by means of eyetracking methods. In this theoretical framework, gaze direction may be a revealing signal of how automatic detection is modified or sustained by controlled search. We performed an experiment by using a stylized decisional framework, i.e. informational cascade, proposed by economists to investigate the rationality of imitative behavior. Our main result is that automatic detection as revealed by gaze direction is driven by mechanisms that are dependent on cognitive biases. In particular, we find significant statistical correlation between subjects’ first fixation and their revealed patterns of choice. Our findings support the hypothesis that the process of automatic detection is not independent on cognitive processes.
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