Colston, H. L., and Schiano, D. J. Looking and lingering as conversational cues in video-mediated communication. In CHI ’95: Conference companion on Human factors in computing systems (New York, NY, USA, 1995), ACM Press, pp. 278–279. [url]
The authors report an interesting finding: the amount of time spent looking at an unknown problem is inferred to suggest the level of difficulty involved solving the problem, and this inference is highly sensitive to timing parameters.
A study is described in which observers rated the difficulty people had in solving problems, based either upon simply how long the person looked at each problem, or also how long his or her gaze lingered on it after being instructed to move on. Initial results show a linear relationship between gaze duration and rated difficulty, with lingering as an added significant factor. These findings are discussed in terms of the role(s) gaze cues play in tracking understanding in conversations, with implications for the design of video-mediated communication (VMC) systems.