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

Hall, Charlotte, Hogue, Todd and Guo, Kun (2011) Differential gaze behavior towards sexually preferred and non-preferred human figures. Journal of Sex Research, 48 (5). pp. 461-469. ISSN 1559-8519

Full content URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00224499.2010.521899

Differential gaze behavior towards sexually preferred and non-preferred human figures
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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
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
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
attractiveness judgments. The results suggest that the difference in cognitive processing of sexually preferred and non-preferred figures can be manifested in gaze patterns
associated with figure viewing. Thus, eye-tracking holds promise as a potential sensitive measure for sexual preference, particularly in men.

Keywords:visual attention, gender difference, Gaze pattern, Human figure, sexual preference
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C800 Psychology
C Biological Sciences > C850 Cognitive Psychology
C Biological Sciences > C830 Experimental Psychology
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Psychology
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ID Code:3426
Deposited On:07 Oct 2010 16:52

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