Exploring the Relationship Between Attentional Capture and Prior Knowledge in a Science-Based Multi-user Virtual Environment: an Individual Growth Model Analysis

  • M. Shane TutwilerEmail author


In this study, we investigate trends in the relationship between what students know and the types of data that capture their attention over time in a science-based multi-user virtual environment. Longitudinal analyses of the patterns of data collected by 143 middle school students (nested within 5 teachers) showed that student prior knowledge was marginally (p < .10) related to variation in the attentional value (visibility and location) of data they collected over time, explaining about 2% of said variation. By contrast, accounting for the clustering of students by teacher was statistically significantly (p < .05) related to variation in trends in attentional values and explained 36% of said variation.


Multi-user virtual environments MUVEs Longitudinal analysis Attention Perception 



This study was funded in part by National Science Foundation grants 1118530 0845632 and by IES grant R305A080514.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study (as outlined in the manuscript).

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of EducationUniversity of Rhode IslandKingstonUSA

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