Bol, N., Van Weert, J. C. M., Loos, E. F., Romano Bergstrom, J. C., Bolle, S., & Smets, E. M. A. (2016). How are online health messages processed? Using eye tracking to predict recall of information in younger and older adults. Journal of Health Communication, 21(4), 387–396. doi:10.1080/10810730.2015.1080327

Abstract: Little research has focused on what precedes the processing of health messages to predict recall of information and whether age matters in this regard. To address this gap, this study investigates the relationship between attention and recall among younger (<65 years) and older (≥65 years) adults. Using eye tracking, we exposed participants to a webpage consisting of text-only information, text with cognitive illustrations, or text with affective illustrations. When attention to text increased, older adults recalled more information, whereas younger adults did not. However, younger adults paid more attention to cognitive illustrations than older adults and recalled more information. These results reveal conditions under which health messages are effectively recalled by younger and older adults.

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