Detection of differential viewing patterns to erotic and non-erotic stimuli using eye-tracking methodology

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As a first step in the investigation of the role of visual attention in the processing of erotic stimuli, eye-tracking methodology was employed to measure eye movements during erotic scene presentation. Because eye-tracking is a novel methodology in sexuality research, we attempted to determine whether the eye-tracker could detect differences (should they exist) in visual attention to erotic and non-erotic scenes. A total of 20 men and 20 women were presented with a series of erotic and non-erotic images and tracked their eye movements during image presentation. Comparisons between erotic and non-erotic image groups showed significant differences on two of three dependent measures of visual attention (number of fixations and total time) in both men and women. As hypothesized, there was a significant Stimulus × Scene Region interaction, indicating that participants visually attended to the body more in the erotic stimuli than in the non-erotic stimuli, as evidenced by a greater number of fixations and longer total time devoted to that region. These findings provide support for the application of eye-tracking methodology as a measure of visual attentional capture in sexuality research. Future applications of this methodology to expand our knowledge of the role of cognition in sexuality are suggested.


Eye-tracking; Photography; Erotic--Psychological aspects; Sex differences; Sex differences; Sexual excitement; Visual attention; Women--Sexual behavior


Community-Based Research | Counseling Psychology | Health Psychology | Medicine and Health | Psychiatry and Psychology | Psychology


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