The impact of bilingual subtitles on attention distribution and cognitive load: an eye tracking study
thesisposted on 29.03.2022, 03:04 by Sixin Liao
This study investigated the impact of subtitle mode on viewers’ visual attention distribution, cognitive load and overall comprehension of the video’s content. Twenty Chinese native speakers watched four videos with English narration, each in a different condition: with English subtitles (intralingual subtitles), with Chinese subtitles (interlingual subtitles), with both Chinese and English subtitles (bilingual subtitles), and without subtitles. Their eye movements were recorded by means of a remote eye tracker while watching the video. After watching each video, they were asked to complete a post hoc Likert scale questionnaire to self-report three types of cognitive load and mental effort in information acquisition. A free recall test was also used to evaluate viewers’ comprehension of the video. Results showed that viewers’ visual attention to L1 subtitles was more stable than that to L2 subtitles and less sensitive to the increased visual competition in the bilingual condition, which could be attributed to the language dominance of their native language. Bilingual subtitles did not create more cognitive load or produce more cognitive gain than monolingual subtitles. However,compared with the no subtitles condition, bilingual subtitles were found to be more beneficial as they provided linguistic support to make the video easier to comprehend and facilitate the learning process.