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Differential gaze behavior towards sexually preferred and non-preferred human figures

By Charlotte Hall, Todd Hogue and Kun Guo


The gaze pattern associated with image exploration is a sensitive index of our attention, motivation and preference. To examine whether an individual’s gaze behavior\ud can reflect his/her sexual interest, we compared gaze patterns of young heterosexual men and women (M = 19.94 years, SD = 1.05) while viewing photos of plain-clothed male and female figures aged from birth to sixty years old. Our analysis revealed a clear gender difference in viewing sexually preferred figure images. Men displayed a distinctive gaze pattern only when viewing twenty-year-old female images, with more fixations and longer viewing time dedicated to the upper body and waist-hip region. Women also\ud directed more attention at the upper body on female images in comparison to male images, but this difference was not age-specific. Analysis of local image salience revealed that observers’ eye-scanning strategies could not be accounted for by low-level processes, such as analyzing local image contrast and structure, but were associated with\ud attractiveness judgments. The results suggest that the difference in cognitive processing of sexually preferred and non-preferred figures can be manifested in gaze patterns\ud associated with figure viewing. Thus, eye-tracking holds promise as a potential sensitive measure for sexual preference, particularly in men

Topics: C800 Psychology, C850 Cognitive Psychology, C830 Experimental Psychology
Publisher: Taylor and Francis (Routledge)
Year: 2011
DOI identifier: 10.1080/00224499.2010.521899
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.lincoln.ac.uk:3426

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