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I am a bit confused about selecting the appropriate word for the following sentence. Should I use interact with or watched?

32 students (16 male 16 female) interacted with (or watched) these videos on an eye-tracking device in a human-computer interaction lab one by one and filled a retention test.

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  • If the students' only interaction with the computer was passive - having their eye movements tracked as they watched a video - I would think 'watched' was appropriate. – Kate Bunting Feb 11 at 8:58
  • If you want a workable way to express the idea of interacting with a video, perhaps "Engaged with the video" would work. But it's a bit of a stretch. – aparente001 Feb 15 at 8:47
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From my understanding of what happened, watched would be the word to use.

To "interact with" implies that two systems (or in this case a person and a computer) are both taking voluntary actions intended to influence the other. If what the students are doing is purely involuntary/subconscious and the computer is not doing anything in response to the students that is intended to change the students' experience, then they are not "interacting" in the common sense of the word.

A person playing a video game is interacting with the video game console, but a person watching live television is just watching.

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