Eye Movements When Looking at Potential Friends and Romantic Partners
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Eye movements of 105 heterosexual undergraduate students (36 males) were monitored while viewing photographs of men and women identified as a potential mate or a potential friend. Results showed that people looked at the head and chest more when assessing potential mates and looked at the legs and feet more when assessing potential friends. Single people looked at the photographs longer and more frequently than coupled people, especially when evaluating potential mates. In addition, eye gaze was a valid indicator of relationship interest. For women, looking at the head corresponded to greater interest in friendship, whereas for men looking at the head corresponded to less interest in friendship. These findings show that relational goals and gender may affect the way people scan their environment and search for relevant information in line with their goals.
KeywordsMating Friendship Eye-tracking Chest Waist-to-hip ratio Attraction
We gratefully acknowledge the contributions of Melanie Canterberry and Austen McGuire for assisting with the eye-tracking equipment and software, and we thank Megan Chen for creating the data visualizations displayed in Figures 2 and 3.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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