Macquarie University
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The impact of bilingual subtitles on attention distribution and cognitive load: an eye tracking study

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posted on 2022-03-29, 03:04 authored 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.


Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Introduction -- Chapter 2. Literature review -- Chapter 3. Methodology -- Chapter 4. Results -- Chapter 5. Discussion -- Chapter 6. Conclusion -- References -- Appendices.


Theoretical thesis. Bibliography: pages 94-101

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis MRes


MRes, Macquarie University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Linguistics

Department, Centre or School

Department of Linguistics

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Jan-Louis Kruger

Additional Supervisor 1

Stephen Doherty


Copyright Sixin Liao 2017. Copyright disclaimer:




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