Eye movement analysis of children’s attention for midline diastema

Vanessa Y. Cho, Janet H. Hsiao, Antoni B. Chan, Hien C. Ngo, Nigel M. King, Robert P. Anthonappa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


No previous studies have investigated eye-movement patterns to show children’s information processing while viewing clinical images. Therefore, this study aimed to explore children and their educators’ perception of a midline diastema by applying eye-movement analysis using the hidden Markov models (EMHMM). A total of 155 children between 2.5 and 5.5 years of age and their educators (n = 34) viewed pictures with and without a midline diastema while Tobii Pro Nano eye-tracker followed their eye movements. Fixation data were analysed using data-driven, and fixed regions of interest (ROIs) approaches with EMHMM. Two different eye-movement patterns were identified: explorative pattern (76%), where the children’s ROIs were predominantly around the nose and mouth, and focused pattern (26%), where children’s ROIs were precise, locating on the teeth with and without a diastema, and fixations transited among the ROIs with similar frequencies. Females had a significantly higher eye-movement preference for without diastema image than males. Comparisons between the different age groups showed a statistically significant difference for overall entropies. The 3.6–4.5y age groups exhibited higher entropies, indicating lower eye-movement consistency. In addition, children and their educators exhibited two specific eye-movement patterns. Children in the explorative pattern saw the midline diastema more often while their educators focussed on the image without diastema. Thus, EMHMMs are valuable in analysing eye-movement patterns in children and adults.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7462
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


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