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Experimentation

As part of the ANfiltered project and concurrently with the exhibit intervention on the display cases in South America (hall n. 2) and New Guinea (hall n. 14) sections of the Museo di Antropologia e Etnologia - Sistema Museale di Ateneo dell’Università degli Studi di Firenze, the visual perception of a sample subject was analyzed with eye tracking equipment in a neurophysiology of museum experience pilot test. 

Eye tracking studies within museums, and the application of neuroscientific principles in general, allows for outcomes which are useful for improving a visual-cognitive effectiveness of museum displays.

The driving force for this research is fueled by the growing interest in the scientific field upon existing connections involving museum experience and neuroscience. Indeed, there is an increasing amount of investigations being made regarding the perception of museum spaces and display techniques which, in the case of our Museo di Antropologia e Etnologia, mostly involves objects and artifacts, some of which are considered to be sensitive.

 

Disclaim

The goal of this pilot was to understand how to carry out an experimental study; from defining objectives to instrumentation to project tasks and the determination of a target audience. For reliable qualitative data to be collected, the experiment would need to be repeated with a larger number of sample subjects (at least 7 to 14) and for a longer period of time spent in the rooms (at least 10 minutes per room).

This is a collaboration with Mario Puccioni, CEO at BINOOCLE.

The experimental task consisted of two phases, one prior to the completion of ANfiltered and one consequent. It involved the free movement of the subject (followed by the team) within the museum environments that were affected by the intervention designed by the project.

We specify that:

 

  • the subject was selected within the project's target range.

 

  • The subject has never visited the museum before the test.

 

  • The subject was not previously informed of the intervention and the purpose of the project.

 

Part One 

3/05/2023, 9-12 am

 

Location: 

Museo di Antropologia e Etnologia - Sistema Museale di Ateneo dell’Università di Firenze, halls n. 2 and 14.

Procedure: 

The subject, a 21-year-old Natural Sciences student, was randomly selected. She was walked by the team to the museum entrance and equipped with the eye tracking goggles. She then was invited to move freely through the selected rooms.

 

Results:

Hall n. 2: Data collection started from the entrance to the room. The subject focused on every single display case. The objects on display, rather than the explanatory supports, attracted the subject's attention.


Hall n. 14: Data collection continued in hall 14. As in the previous case, the exhibited objects, rather than the explanatory supports, attracted the subject's attention.

South America section - hall n. 2.

New Guinea section - hall n. 14.

Second Part

18/05/2023 - 9-12 am

 

Location: 

Museo di Antropologia e Etnologia - Sistema Museale di Ateneo dell’Università di Firenze, halls n. 2 and 14

 

Procedure: 

The same subject took part in the second part of the test, with the installative intervention completed. She was walked by the team to the entrance of the museum and equipped with the eye tracking goggles. She then was invited to move freely through the selected rooms.

Results:

 

Hall n. 2

Disclaimer: its first position, by the entrance of the hall, did not allow the subject to dwell adequately on the disclaimer totem. 

 

Ancient Peru case: the subject dwelt on the case involved in the filtering intervention, especially on the aperture that allows an unfiltered viewing of the sensitive artifacts contained.

Yanomami case: the subject lingered in reading the quotes applied on the glass.

Hall n. 14

Filtered case: the subject dwelt on the case involved in the filtering intervention and then ducked down to get a better look through the aperture.

New Guinea case: The subject carefully read the quotations placed on the decals.

Final Thoughts


Disclaimer: with the test's outcomes, a new and more visible location was chosen, directly adjacent to the first case.

Decals: The data analysis revealed a 10% increment of fixation points relative to the subject's gaze while focusing on the cases with our decals. Hence we can imply an improved activation of cognitive processes such as memory and attention.

South America section - hall n. 2.

New Guinea section - hall n. 14.

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