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The Role of Visual Complexity in Affective Reactions to Webpages: Subjective, Eye Movement, and Cardiovascular Responses
October-December 2011 (vol. 2 no. 4)
pp. 230-236
Alexandre N. Tuch, University of Basel, Basel
Sylvia D. Kreibig, Stanford University, Stanford
Sandra P. Roth, University of Basel, Basel
Javier A. Bargas-Avila, University of Basel, Basel
Klaus Opwis, University of Basel, Basel
Frank H. Wilhelm, University of Salzburg, Salzburg
In this study, we tested whether the visual complexity (VC) of webpages influences viewer's affective reactions. In a laboratory experiment, 48 students viewed 36 webpages varying in VC while subjective feelings, behavioral, and cardiovascular responses were recorded. Less complex webpages were associated with more positive affect, decreased eye movements (specifically in the first few seconds of viewing), a triphasic heart rate response, and increased finger pulse amplitude. Results suggest that affective responses to webpage viewing differ as a function of VC and that webpage displaying could be made adaptive to the user's emotions.

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Index Terms:
Psychophysiology, affective computing, multicomponent approach, arousal, valence.
Alexandre N. Tuch, Sylvia D. Kreibig, Sandra P. Roth, Javier A. Bargas-Avila, Klaus Opwis, Frank H. Wilhelm, "The Role of Visual Complexity in Affective Reactions to Webpages: Subjective, Eye Movement, and Cardiovascular Responses," IEEE Transactions on Affective Computing, vol. 2, no. 4, pp. 230-236, Oct.-Dec. 2011, doi:10.1109/T-AFFC.2011.18
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