, Volume 21, Issue 4, pp 355-370
Date: 18 Nov 2010

Watching the Hourglass

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Eye-tracking techniques were used to measure men’s attention to back-posed and front-posed images of women varying in waist-to-hip ratio (WHR). Irrespective of body pose, men rated images with a 0.7 WHR as most attractive. For back-posed images, initial visual fixations (occurring within 200 milliseconds of commencement of the eye-tracking session) most frequently involved the midriff. Numbers of fixations and dwell times throughout each of the five-second viewing sessions were greatest for the midriff and buttocks. By contrast, visual attention to front-posed images (first fixations, numbers of fixations, and dwell times) mainly involved the breasts, with attention shifting more to the midriff of images with a higher WHR. This report is the first to compare men’s eye-tracking responses to back-posed and front-posed images of the female body. Results show the importance of the female midriff and of WHR upon men’s attractiveness judgments, especially when viewing back-posed images.