Influence of Expertise on Perception and Understanding on Viewing a Molecular Animation of the Lung Endothelial Surface Layer and its Role in Inflammation


Abstract A study of the effect of expertise on the perception and understanding of a 3D biomedical animation and the ability of a 3D animation of the lung endothelial surface layer to generate understanding of, and interest in, the lung endothelial surface layer was carried out using a mix of quantitative and qualitative approaches. The animation was tested using eye-tracking with five lung trauma researchers who were experts on the animation's topic, the lung endothelial surface layer, and with 15 biomedical visualization graduate students who lacked prior knowledge of the structure and science of the lung endothelial surface layer. Information on demographics, knowledge gain on the lung endothelial surface layer, eye-tracking recordings, cued-retrospective reports, and written open-ended feedback were collected from both groups.


The eye-tracking results, cued-retrospective audio recordings, and surveys between the groups of experts and novices showed expertise influenced perception and understanding of the animation of the lung ESL. The group with high expertise on the lung endothelial surface layer rated the animation as very engaging. They gained knowledge on the lung endothelial surface layer from the animation and would recommend the animation to their colleagues as an introduction to their research. Their eye-tracking results and cued-retrospective reporting showed greater attention paid to areas of high scientific relevancy in the animation. They also showed a viewing pattern of switching to one modality (audio or visual) to seek new information when shown familiar representations similar to schematics in the science literature.


The group without prior knowledge of the lung endothelial surface layer focus also gained in knowledge of the lung endothelial surface layer after watching the animation. They paid more attention to aspects of how the animation was created and less to the scientifically relevant areas. They rated the animation on average as moderately engaging. These results demonstrate how important designing for a target audience is in order to maximize multimedia's potential to fully engage and generate interest, as prior expertise greatly influences how an audience perceives and understands biomedical animations.

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This Vesalius Trust research poster was presented at the 2019 Association of Medical Illustrators' Annual Meeting held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.




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