Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Eye tracking technology suggests people 'check out' women at first glance

Date:
October 29, 2013
Source:
Springer Science+Business Media
Summary:
Eye tracking technology has reconfirmed what women have known all along: that people look at their sexual body parts more and faces less when evaluating their appearance. A new study found that especially women with typical hour glass figures or larger breasts, narrower waists, and bigger hips frequently prompted such gazes.

A new study says women with “hour glass figures” are generally regarded more positively than others.
Credit: Katie Little / Fotolia

Eye tracking technology has reconfirmed what women have known all along: that people look at their sexual body parts more and faces less when evaluating their appearance. The study, published today in Springer's journal Sex Roles, was led by Sarah Gervais of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in the US. It found that especially women with typical hour glass figures or larger breasts, narrower waists, and bigger hips frequently prompted such gazes.

The study is among the first to use eye tracking technology to examine objectified glances by which men, especially in Western cultures, purportedly often "ogle," "leer at" or "check out" women. Due to these objectifying gazes, American women develop social physique anxiety, and show decreased cognitive performance and self-silencing. This is because this type of attention reduces them to mere instruments in which their bodies are taken as being representative of their whole being.

Previous research primarily used women's self-reported experiences of this phenomenon. Gervais and her colleagues used the Eyelink II eye tracking system to examine how 29 women and 36 men from a large Midwestern University in the US reacted to digitally manipulated photographs of the same group of models with various body shapes.

The researchers found that participants focused more on women's chests and waists and less on faces when they were asked to objectify the women by evaluating their appearance rather than their personality. This effect was more pronounced for women with hour glass figures, idealized in Western cultures, and to a lesser degree by women with smaller breasts and bigger hips who fall outside of cultural ideals of beauty. Compared to their female counterparts, the male participants distinguished between women with different bodies shapes regardless of whether they were focused on appearance or personality. Women with high ideal bodies (i.e. hour glass figures) were generally regarded more positively than women with average or low ideal bodies -- interestingly enough, even by personality-focused men.

The researchers believe that when a woman's appearance rather than personality drives a man, all women will experience the objectifying gaze, regardless of their body shape. This is consistent with a previous proposition that having a reproductively mature female body creates a shared cultural experience in which the bodies of all women (regardless of attractiveness) are persistently looked at, evaluated, and potentially objectified.

Interestingly, women also often seem to view other women as objects. This corresponds to the idea that women may internalize the male gaze and self-objectify, and in turn also use it to evaluate other women.

"Generally speaking, people are more positive towards a more attractive woman than a less attractive one," Gervais says. "However, attractiveness may also be a liability, because while evaluating them positively, 'gazers' still focus less on individuating and personalizing features, such as faces, and more on the bodies of attractive women."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Springer Science+Business Media. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Sarah J. Gervais, Arianne M. Holland, Michael D. Dodd. My Eyes Are Up Here: The Nature of the Objectifying Gaze Toward Women. Sex Roles, 2013; DOI: 10.1007/s11199-013-0316-x

Cite This Page:

Springer Science+Business Media. "Eye tracking technology suggests people 'check out' women at first glance." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 October 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131029091030.htm>.
Springer Science+Business Media. (2013, October 29). Eye tracking technology suggests people 'check out' women at first glance. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131029091030.htm
Springer Science+Business Media. "Eye tracking technology suggests people 'check out' women at first glance." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131029091030.htm (accessed August 28, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Alice in Wonderland Syndrome

Alice in Wonderland Syndrome

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) It’s an unusual condition with a colorful name. Kids with “Alice in Wonderland” syndrome see sudden distortions in objects they’re looking at or their own bodies appear to change size, a lot like the main character in the Lewis Carroll story. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stopping Schizophrenia Before Birth

Stopping Schizophrenia Before Birth

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) Scientists have long called choline a “brain booster” essential for human development. Not only does it aid in memory and learning, researchers now believe choline could help prevent mental illness. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Personalized Brain Vaccine for Glioblastoma

Personalized Brain Vaccine for Glioblastoma

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) Glioblastoma is the most common and aggressive brain cancer in humans. Now a new treatment using the patient’s own tumor could help slow down its progression and help patients live longer. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Brain Surgery in 3-D

Brain Surgery in 3-D

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) Neurosurgeons now have a new approach to brain surgery using the same 3D glasses you’d put on at an IMAX movie theater. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

More Coverage


Eyetrack Study Captures Men's -- And Women's -- Objectifying Gazes

Oct. 29, 2013 A new study used eye-tracking technology to map the visual behavior of men and women as they looked at images of women with different body ... read more
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins