Nicola Gregory (my former PhD student) and I have just published a paper in Perception examining how eye gaze, arrow and finger pointing cues affect how quickly we direct attention (via saccadic eye movements) . Even when these directional cues arent relevant to what you’re doing we find that they tend to effect your eye movements.
A link to the abstract is available here http://www.perceptionweb.com/abstract.cgi?id=p7085
Interestingly, more realistic biological cues such as a pointing finger were generally better than abstract cues such as arrows for directing attention. We slightly cheekily suggest in the paper that road and other directional signage should revert back to the old fashioned “finger post” form seen only in the remote country lanes of devon and other such places.
Nicola Gregory will also be presenting some of her work at the EPS conference in Hull this week.