Researchers at the University of Florida studied what people actually look at when the objects are beautiful people reports the September issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
Single heterosexual males and females predictably ogled attractive members of the opposite sex while those in committed relationships actually spent more time fixated on attractive members of the same sex.
Study leader Jon Maner explained the evolutionary basis for such findings:
"If we're interested in finding a mate, our attention gets quickly and automatically stuck on attractive members of the opposite sex," explained Maner according to Yahoo! News. "If we're jealous and worried about our partner cheating on us, attention gets quickly and automatically stuck on attractive people of our own sex because they are our competitors."
The study found that jealous men paid particular attention to attractive potential rivals.
Maner plans a followup study utilizing penile plethysmographs and hemodynamic evaluation to measure sexual arousal in addition to the eye movements.
Preliminary findings indicated that when looking at the opposite sex the focus of men would shift between face, breasts, waist and buttocks while women would look at face, shoulders and buttocks. While looking at the same sex, the face was primary.
"We'd like to know which of these features are most exciting to look at as well as test our theory that 'getting away' with looking at taboo body parts is more stimulating," said Maner.
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