Category: psychology

ECEM 2013 – Lund, Sweden

European Conference on Eye Movements - ECEM 2013 in Lund, Sweden was great this year. The talks and posters were consistently interesting and I really loved Sweden. This is the first ECEM where I have seen several researchers looking at how people engage with and read hyperlinks which was really good. It was interesting to see how other people have approached the topic. I look forward to seeing more hyperlink research at the next conference!

I gave a presentation on the first steps of measuring how people read hyperlinks and I was also involved in some other projects that were presented at the conference:

Fitzsimmons, G. & Drieghe, D. (2013, August). Measuring the Impact of Hyperlinks on Reading. Presented at the European Conference on Eye Movements, Lund, Sweden.

Drieghe, D., Fitzsimmons, G. & Liversedge, S.P. (2013, August). Parafoveal Preview Effects In Reading Unspaced English Text. Presented at the European Conference on Eye Movements, Lund, Sweden.

Bertram, R., Fitzsimmons, G., Drieghe, D. & Kuperman, V. (2013, August). Why spaces should be replaced by hyphens in English compounds. Poster presented at the European Conference on Eye Movements, Lund, Sweden.

Yes, the conference took place in a castle.

Web Science 2013 – Paris, France

From the 1st-5th May I attending ACM Web Science 2013 in Paris, France and presented a poster on my paper.

PAPER – Fitzsimmons, G., Weal, M. & Drieghe, D. (2013) On Measuring the Impact of Hyperlinks on Reading. In, ACM Web Science 2013, (In Press).

POSTER – Fitzsimmons, G., Weal, M. & Drieghe, D. (2013, May). On Measuring the Impact of Hyperlinks on Reading. Poster presented at ACM Web Science 2013, Paris, France.

On Measuring the Impact of Hyperlinks on Reading

From the 7th to the 8th February 2012 I attended an Industry Forum for Web Science in Southampton. I am presented a poster on reading hyperlinks on the Web and using the methodology of eye tracking to measure the impact of hyperlinks on reading. Below is a link to a pdf of the poster.

Fitzsimmons, G., Weal, M. & Drieghe, D. (2013, February). On Measuring the Impact of Hyperlinks on Reading. Poster presented at the Industry Forum for Web Science, Southampton.

How Fast can Predictability influence Word Skipping during Reading

My paper on predictability and word skipping has now been accepted for publication to JEP:LMC! The data from this experiment was also presented as a poster at ECEM 2011.

Fitzsimmons, G., & Drieghe, D. (in press). How Fast can Predictability influence Word Skipping during ReadingJournal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition.

A link will be made available on my publications page when the paper is available online.

How Fast can Predictability influence Word Skipping during Reading? ECEM Poster 2011 Marseille

From the 21st to the 25th August 2011 I am attending the European Conference on Eye Movements in Marseille. I am presenting a poster on the topic of word skipping and predictability. Below is a link to a pdf of the poster.

PDF -  How Fast can Predictability influence Word Skipping during Reading?

Fitzsimmons, G. & Drieghe, D. (2011, August). How Fast can Predictability influence Word Skipping during Reading? Poster presented at the European Conference on Eye Movements, Marseille, France.

The Influence of Number of Syllables on Word Skipping During Reading.

Today I have seen the paper copy of my first publication. It may have had slight administrative hiccups (i.e. published missing the abstract *facepalm*), but it’s still a nice thing to see! I have page numbers and everything! I’m easily pleased.

Fitzsimmons, G., & Drieghe, D. (2011). The Influence of Number of Syllables on Word Skipping During Reading. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 18, 736-741.

Very early on Saturday morning I will be making my way to Marseille for the European Conference on Eye Movements. My first time abroad and my first poster, scary stuff. As long as I don’t miss the plane or lose my poster I will count it as a successful trip.

A scheduled post is set to become live on Tuesday 23rd August (the day of my poster) and it will include the reference and a link to a PDF of the poster. That blog post will also be linked from the poster in the form of a rather geeky QR code. It had to be done!

How to Turn on, Set Up and Run an Experiment on the Eyelink 1000

Document for download —> How to Eyelink 1000

Text from document below.


How to : Turn on, set up and run an experiment on the Eyelink eyetracker


Turn it on.


Turn on power to plug sockets.


Press On buttons on the host and the display PC and wait for them to load.


On Host PC type D and Enter.


On Display PC click on the Eyelink username.


Both should now be loaded and ready to run the experiment.


Load experiment


Transfer experiment to Display PC, or locate it on the hard drive.


You will want to run the deployed version of your experiment; this is normally the icon of a large blue eye. Just double click it to run the experiment.


Check camera focus and light levels


The Camera Setup will be a blank screen on the Display PC to begin with.


Press Enter to see the participant’s eye on the screen.


Press the Right arrow key to zoom in on the eye


From this screen you can see if the lens needs to be focused, you do this by gently turning the top edge of the camera lens, do not touch the actual lens, only the sides. The lens is focused when the image is crisp and you can make out the eyelashes clearly.


Once focused you can press A on the keyboard to auto adjust the light levels.


Now get the participant to look at the four corners of the screen and make sure the tracker has there pupil while they look at all four corners. If this is fine you can move onto calibration. If it is not fine then reposition the participant and the camera again from the beginning and try again.




To calibrate a participant press C on the keyboard, or click on Calibrate under Camera Setup on the Host PC.


Dependent on your calibration type you will see a dot on the display PC either in the centre or at the edge.


For the calibration you need to ask the participant to look at the first dot and then look at each dot as they appear.


Press the Spacebar to begin calibration, the dots will appear and disappear and on the Host PC you will see crosses indicating the dot fixations.


If it looks ok you can accept the calibration by either pressing Enter on the keyboard or Accept on the Host PC screen.




Now you can validate the calibration either by pressing V or by pressing Validate on the Host PC under Camera Setup.


A similar thing will happen as in the calibration, dots will appear which the participant has to follow. You will see on the Host PC screen that there are number next to each fixation which tells you the quality of the calibration, the error of the visual angle. Dependent on your type of study you will need to know the tolerance of this (*see below). If this looks ok you can accept the validation either by pressing Enter or Accept on the Host PC.


Your participant is now calibrated and ready to take part in the experiment.


Start Experiment


To start either press O or Output/Record on the host PC.


*Dependent on your type of study you will need to know the tolerance of your calibration, the error of the visual angle. You want to be sure that what the eye tracker is recording is what your participant is actually looking at. For most visual search studies this will be 0.5 (half a visual angle), but for reading boundary experiments you may want closer to 0.33(1/3 of a visual angle). This is because 1 visual angle is normally 3 characters on the screen and you want to be able to distinguish between each character accurately.



New job starts tomorrow!

New job starts tomorrow working for Dr. Drieghe! Can’t wait to find out what I’ll be doing. Although I expect I will spend the morning harassing the uni computing people about installing the software I need. 48 hours of emails and all I’ve got is a question asking what system I’m running, after I’ve already given them the reference no. of the computer that belongs to them. Strange, crazy people…I shall be nagging tomorrow using my formal English voice that I get out for special complaining occasions.

Still tomorrow should be fun! :)

Exams are over, let the working begin!

Exams are over! How I’ve waited for this day! Now to remember what I did before revision took over my life…was it something to do with genes/children/pop psych? No…I would hope not.

So currently having a relaxing bank holiday, doing exactly nothing. I may paint my nails while watching some junk films, but that is as much as I intend to do today. Anyway, I have to be up early tomorrow for my induction! w00t! I get to get a new staff card with the same details as the one I just handed in, hopefully not with the same ‘just dug up’ picture, but I expect it will be. At least I can scare small children with it I suppose. I get to have an induction around the department tomorrow, which should be short seeing as I spend a lot of time in there already. I’m really looking forward to working in the psych department, I owe many thanks/favours/drinks for the opportunity! Unfortunately I have to share an office with a certain Dr.Godwin. Tsch, there’s always a down side!

Pop psych…not popular with me

First night of my notice! Everything bad about the job now makes me happy, especially now I know the end is nigh.

Currently researching pop psychology essay, but it is annoying to research something your just going to slate for 1500 words.  Considering personality typing as a topic, but there isn’t much recent stuff, except in management journals. Management love personality typing, especially in supermarkets! I remember first going to apply for a job at M&S, you couldn’t apply in store, you had to complete an online personality test (talent screening) first before you could have an interview.

The test had questions about how you would act in different scenarios, and the choice of answers were all acceptable things to do and extremly similar (e.g. you finish a task, do you – a)help busy collegue, b)ask supervisor what to do, c)recheck work). Anyway, I filled the questionnaire out and got rejected because I favoured the answers about organisation and efficiency over customer service, which seeing as I was applying for a job early mornings before the shop opened, I figured I was fine. Alas, I had failed. There was so many things about the questionnaire that just seemed weird, there seemed no way of of assessing it, or even telling which answer was correct!

A quick google later I have the answers and an interview and was employed within three days. I would love to meet who came up with the idea of having a very poor personality test as a screening process for interviews. Even a good personality test surely could not say who is better suited to stacking fruit and veg. Maybe if I’m stuck for work again I can use my psychology skills to examine the customer base in supermarkets, it’s always surprising to see the same elderly people come in every morning to buy a lime, a handful of grapes and a can of gin and tonic.

Anyway, back to researching this fun topic…