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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Eye Tracking Devices....man, we are a strange species.

Came up via reddit, found it kind of interesting so looked it up some more:

When shown a photo of baseball-player George Brett, womens' eyes focused on his face. By contrast, when men were shown the same photo, they focused also on his crotch. The researchers noted, "Men tend to fixate more on areas of private anatomy on animals as well, as evidenced when users were directed to browse the American Kennel Club site." - from here

However when we look at porn, there is a difference:

The finding, reported in Hormones and Behavior, confirmed the hypothesis of a previous study (Stephen Hamann and Kim Wallen, et al., 2004) that reported men and women showed different patterns of brain activity when viewing sexual stimuli. The present study examined sex differences in attention by employing eye-tracking technology that pinpoints individual attention to different elements of each picture such as the face or body parts.

"Men looked at the female face much more than women, and both looked at the genitals comparably,"

[...]"The eye-tracking data suggested what women paid most attention to was dependent upon their hormonal state. Women using hormonal contraceptives looked more at the genitals, while women who were not using hormonal contraceptives paid more attention to contextual elements of the photographs,"

Fits great in my previous post about biology and different working male and female brains:

The answer may lie within a small section of the brain called the amygdala, which is important in the processing of emotional information. In Dr. Hamann and Wallen's previous fMRI study, men showed more activation in the amygdala in response to sexual vs. neutral stimuli than did women. From the fMRI study alone, the cause of the increased activity was unclear, but Rupp and Wallen's study suggests the possibility that higher amygdala activation in men may be related to their increased attention to faces in sexual photographs.

Another study:

Men and women did not differ in their overall interest in the stimuli, indicated by equal subjective ratings and viewing times, although there were preferences for specific types of pictures. Pictures of the opposite sex receiving oral sex were rated as least sexually attractive by all participants and they looked longer at pictures showing the female actor’s body. Women rated pictures in which the female actor was looking indirectly at the camera as more attractive, while men did not discriminate by female gaze. Participants did not look as long at close-ups of genitals, and men and women on oral contraceptives rated genital images as less sexually attractive. Together, these data demonstrate sex-specific preferences for specific types of stimuli even when, across stimuli, overall interest was comparable

Pretty interesting stuff:

Generally, heterosexual men subjectively rate stimuli depicting nude males or male–male sexual behavior as less sexually arousing or attractive than stimuli including women (Costa, Braun, & Birbaumer, 2003; Schmidt, 1975; Steinman et al., 1981). In contrast, women generally rate photos of both males and females comparably attractive or arousing (Costa et al., 2003; Schmidt, 1975; Steinman et al., 1981). Genital measurement to same and opposite-sex stimuli shows the same pattern for men and women with men showing highest genital responding to their preferred sex while women show comparable genital arousal independent of the sex of the actors (Chivers, Rieger, Latty, & Bailey, 2004).

[...]Generally, eye-tracking studies find more same-sex viewing interest in women than men (Lykins et al., 2006, 2008; Rupp & Wallen, 2007a). However, despite differences in gaze patterns, there were no sex differences in subjective ratings of the stimuli (Lykins et al., 2006; Rupp & Wallen, 2007a). Because men and women did not differ in subjective ratings, but had different patterns of attention, it is possible that men and women have different cognitive processing strategies when viewing sexual stimuli, and the different strategies produce equal levels of arousal though the aspects of the images visualized were different.

[...]In addition to eye-tracking studies demonstrating sex differences in attention to visual sexual stimuli, recent neuroimaging work also suggests that men and women’s brains may respond
differently to visual sexual stimuli (reviewed in Rupp & Wallen, 2008) even in the absence of sex differences in subjective ratings (Hamann, Herman, Nolan, & Wallen, 2004). This further suggests that subjective ratings may not capture possible sex difference in initial interest in and cognitive processing of visual sexualstimuli. We do notyet know the exact relationship
between neural activation, reflecting changes in cognitive processing, and subjective and conscious evaluations of sexualstimuli.

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