Validation of an open source, remote web-based eye-tracking method (WebGazer) for research in early childhood

Adrian Steffan, Lucie Zimmer, Natalia Arias-Trejo, Manuel Bohn, Rodrigo Dal Ben, Marco A. Flores-Coronado, Laura Franchin, Isa Garbisch, Charlotte Grosse Wiesmann, J. Kiley Hamlin, Naomi Havron, Jessica F. Hay, Tone K. Hermansen, Krisztina V. Jakobsen, Steven Kalinke, Eon Suk Ko, Louisa Kulke, Julien Mayor, Marek Meristo, David MoreauSeongmin Mun, Julia Prein, Hannes Rakoczy, Katrin Rothmaler, Daniela Santos Oliveira, Elizabeth A. Simpson, Sylvain Sirois, Eleanor S. Smith, Karin Strid, Anna Lena Tebbe, Maleen Thiele, Francis Yuen, Tobias Schuwerk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Measuring eye movements remotely via the participant's webcam promises to be an attractive methodological addition to in-person eye-tracking in the lab. However, there is a lack of systematic research comparing remote web-based eye-tracking with in-lab eye-tracking in young children. We report a multi-lab study that compared these two measures in an anticipatory looking task with toddlers using WebGazer.js and jsPsych. Results of our remotely tested sample of 18-27-month-old toddlers (N = 125) revealed that web-based eye-tracking successfully captured goal-based action predictions, although the proportion of the goal-directed anticipatory looking was lower compared to the in-lab sample (N = 70). As expected, attrition rate was substantially higher in the web-based (42%) than the in-lab sample (10%). Excluding trials based on visual inspection of the match of time-locked gaze coordinates and the participant's webcam video overlayed on the stimuli was an important preprocessing step to reduce noise in the data. We discuss the use of this remote web-based method in comparison with other current methodological innovations. Our study demonstrates that remote web-based eye-tracking can be a useful tool for testing toddlers, facilitating recruitment of larger and more diverse samples; a caveat to consider is the larger drop-out rate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-55
Number of pages25
Issue number1
Early online date18 Oct 2023
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors. Infancy published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of International Congress of Infant Studies.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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