The display makes a difference: A mobile eye tracking study on the perception of art before and after a museum's rearrangement

Publikation: Beiträge in ZeitschriftenZeitschriftenaufsätzeForschungbegutachtet


  • Luise Reitstätter
  • Hanna Brinkmann
  • Thiago Santini
  • Eva Specker
  • Zoya Dare
  • Flora Bakondi
  • Anna Miscená
  • Enkelejda Kasneci
  • Helmut Leder
  • Raphael Rosenberg

There is increasing awareness that the perception of art is affected by the way it is presented. In 2018, the Austrian Gallery Belvedere redisplayed its permanent collection. Our multidisciplinary team seized this opportunity to investigate the viewing behavior of specific artworks both before and after the museum's rearrangement. In contrast to previous mobile eye tracking (MET) studies in museums, this study benefits from the comparison of two realistic display conditions (without any research interference), an unconstrained study design (working with regular museum visitors), and a large data sample (comprising 259 participants). We employed a mixed-method approach that combined mobile eye tracking, subjective mapping (a drawing task in conjunction with an open interview), and a questionnaire in order to relate gaze patterns to processes of meaning-making. Our results show that the new display made a difference in that it 1) generally increased the viewing times of the artworks; 2) clearly extended the reading times of labels; and 3) deepened visitors' engagement with the artworks in their exhibition reflections. In contrast, interest in specific artworks and art form preferences proved to be robust and independent of presentation modes.

ZeitschriftJournal of Eye Movement Research
Anzahl der Seiten29
PublikationsstatusErschienen - 19.06.2020

Bibliographische Notiz

Funding Information:
We would like to cordially thank the whole team of the Austrian Gallery Belvedere with its Scientific Director, Stella Rollig, for the collaboration and especially Margarete Stechl for the daily support. Our heartfelt thanks also go to Anna Cornelia Barbulesco, Jane Boddy, Max Douda, Anna Fekete, Judith Herunter, Sarah Hübler, Re-beka Jovanoska, Jisoo Kim, Katrin Kopp, Marthe Kretzschmar, Rosita Messmer, Kristina Miklosova, Adrian Praschl-Bichler, Rebekah Rodriguez, Stephanie Sailer, Rosa Sancarlo, Berna Selin Sayin, Hamida Sivac, Mariette Soulat, Julia Starke, Clara Swaboda, Magdalena Syen, Daniel Teibrich, Veronika Vishnevskaia, and Sophie Wratzfeld for their valuable help in data collection and data preparation. This research was supported in part by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF, grant P25821 and P27355) and the Vienna Science and Technology Fund (WWTF, grant CS15-036). Open access funding was provided by the University of Vienna.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, International Group for Eye Movement Research.