Perception & Psychophysics

, Volume 1, Issue 5, pp 374-376

First online:

Sex differences in the duration of visual attention

  • Bruce T. LeckartAffiliated withOhio University
  • , Kenneth R. KeelingAffiliated withMichigan State University
  • , Paul BakanAffiliated withMichigan State University


Normal adult males and females looked at a series of photographs containing either a single adult male or female. Ss viewed each picture for as long as they wished. Assuming that measures of the duration of attention would reflect Ss attraction for the opposite sex, it was hypothesized that Ss would spend relatively more time viewing photographs of the opposite sex. The results failed to support the hypothesis. Although males did not differentially attend to the stimuli, females looked significantly longer at the females than they did at the males. The results were interpreted in terms of the “overt sexual content” of the stimuli and socially conditioned attentiveness and inattentiveness.