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Eye-tracking study reveals how and what we gawk at

eye trackingUser experience consulting firm Miratech has used eye tracking technology to tell us what may seem obvious. But the in-depth results are a little more interesting than that blanket assessment of the study.

Miratech individually tested more than 200 participants from all over the world by showing them a picture of a woman for 20 seconds. Their eye movements were tracked, revealing that while men were naturally more fixated on the woman’s chest, everyone spent the most time looking at her face—men actually spending more time here than women.

And before you go pointing fingers at such shallow behavior, take into account the fact that the women tested spent a good deal of their 20 seconds eyeing the woman’s ring. “Out of the 20 seconds spent looking at the picture, the women focused on the ring for 27-percent more time on average than the men did.”

the ringThat high average can apparently be blamed on Danish and English women. Miratech broke down the results by ethnicity, and a few of the statistics are pretty intriguing:

  • Women from England, Denmark, and Spain spent the most time looking at the ring. Spanish and English women spent the least time looking at her chest.
  • Spanish and American men spent the least time looking at her chest and the most time looking at her ring.
  • While women spent more time looking at the ring, when asked about details of the image men were more likely to mention the ring. Miratech says “this is a good illustration of the difference between what is self-reported and what is measured.”
  • Out of the women surveyed, French participants spent the most time looking at the woman’s chest.

It’s interesting to see the universal similarities into how people observe an image—everyone, regardless of gender or ethnicity, spent the most time looking at the face. But breaking it down further is pretty revealing—as is, discovering what people won’t admit to even when their eyes are being tracked (i.e., women and the ring).