Visual sampling processes revisited: replicating and extending senders (1983) using modern eye-tracking equipment

Yke Bauke Eisma, Christopher D.D. Cabrall, Joost C.F. de Winter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)
36 Downloads (Pure)


In pioneering work, Senders (1983) tasked five participants to watch a bank of six dials, and found that glance rates and times glanced at dials increase linearly as a function of the frequency bandwidth of the dial's pointer. Senders did not record the angle of the pointers synchronously with eye movements, and so could not assess participants’ visual sampling behavior in regard to the pointer state. Because the study of Senders has been influential but never repeated, we replicated and extended it by assessing the relationship between visual sampling and pointer state, using modern eye-tracking equipment. Eye tracking was performed with 86 participants who watched seven 90-second videos, each video showing six dials with moving pointers. Participants had to press the spacebar when any of the six pointers crossed a threshold. Our results showed a close resemblance to Senders’ original results. Additionally, we found that participants did not behave in accordance with a periodic sampling model, but rather were conditional samplers, in that the probability of looking at a dial was contingent on pointer angle and velocity. Finally, we found that participants sampled more in agreement with Nyquist sampling when the high bandwidth dials were placed in the middle of the bank rather than at its outer edges. We observed results consistent with the saliency, effort, expectancy, and value model and conclude that human sampling of multidegree of freedom systems should not only be modeled in terms of bandwidth but also in terms of saliency and effort.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)526-540
JournalIEEE Transactions on Human-Machine Systems
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project

Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • Attention
  • Bandwidth
  • eye tracking
  • Human factors
  • human factors
  • human–machine systems
  • Instruments
  • Monitoring
  • multitasking
  • Observers
  • Task analysis
  • Visualization


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