Open Lab

OL04 Counteracting racial discrimination through Attention Direction based on subtle visual cues; Tobii.


Ethnic discrimination is pervasive in society. A recently started (2021) research project funded by the Swedish Science Foundation investigates the mechanisms and processes of ethnic and racial discrimination in hiring through examining employment decisions using eye-tracking in combination with dialogue and survey in an experimental setting. University West is project partner with focus on investigating how to objectively measure racial bias and how to potentially reduce it by intervening in how documents are literally perceived.

Aim/goal/research question

To develop a software prototype that alters the way observers scan text documents on a laptop display by introducing barely visible visual elements. The basic idea is to draw attention away from discrimination-prone components and towards objectively relevant components of job applications. Ethical (including privacy, security) aspects of deploying this kind of systems is an important theoretical part of this thesis project.


  • Development and empirical testing of different methods for generating barely visible stimuli on a laptop or desktop display (flashes, contrast changes, blurring).
  • Quantitative and qualitative evaluation. How do the perception of stimuli differ from person to person? How does the surrounding light conditions influence the “subtleness level”? To what degree does the subtle stimuli pose ergonomical challenges to the observers of the text documents, e.g. fatigue? How important is the consideration of the current point of gaze focus when producing the subtle stimuli?

Recommended past experience/interest

Python programming, Human-Computer Interaction, biometric sensing.

Related Work

Other comments

The project is a continuation of a previously performed thesis project (see Mattsson & Green link to PDF in the related work section) built using a PsychoPy-based Python library developed by the Lund University collaborators. The project is connected to the Open Lab internal Nudging AI+AR glasses project.


Eye tracking experts at Lund University and at Rochester Institute of Technology, US. Experts in ethnic and racial discrimination at Malmö University. Project manager: Sayaka Osanami Törngren at Malmö University. Project page: Exploration of hiring discrimination and possibilities for intervention through eye-tracking | Malmö University