Comprehension of multimedia health information among older adults with chronic illness

Dan Morrow, Laura D'Andrea, Elisabeth A L Stine-Morrow, Matthew Shake, Sven Bertel, Jessie Chin, Katie Kopren, Xuefei Gao, Thembi Conner-Garcia, James Graumlich, Michael Murray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The authors explored knowledge effects on comprehension of multimedia health information by older adults (age 60 or older). Participants viewed passages about hypertension, with text accompanied by relevant and irrelevant pictures, and then answered questions about the passage. Fixations on text and pictures were measured by eye-tracking. Participants with more knowledge of hypertension understood the passages better. This advantage was related to how they processed the passages: while knowledge differences were unrelated to overall time viewing displays, relationships between allocation and knowledge emerged when the data were partitioned into phases (during and after first reading the text). More knowledgeable participants spent relatively more time fixating text than pictures during the first pass. After this pass, they spent more time viewing the relevant picture rather than re-reading, with some evidence that this strategy was associated with comprehension. The findings have implications for designing multimedia education materials and analyzing eye-tracking measures during multimedia learning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)347-362
Number of pages16
JournalVisual Communication
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2012


  • aging
  • attention
  • comprehension
  • eye-tracking
  • health education
  • knowledge
  • multimedia
  • visual cognition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts


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