New Edith Cowan College (ECU) analysis inspecting ‘eye gaze behaviour’ has discovered that taking a look at individuals’s our bodies, somewhat than their faces, is linked with dangerous attitudes in the direction of sexual assault.
The research, led by ECU psychology researcher Dr Ross Hollett, used eye monitoring know-how and self-report measures to look at how women and men take a look at the alternative intercourse.
Dr Hollett mentioned an attention-grabbing discovering was that extreme physique gaze is one signal an individual is more likely to imagine girls tolerate or invite tough sexual conduct.
“Gazing at somebody’s physique as a substitute of their face is one type of sexual objectification, or valuing individuals for his or her our bodies over their minds or persona.
“This sexually objectifying gaze behaviour can result in extra dangerous attitudes and behaviours,” he mentioned.
The place are individuals wanting?
Eye monitoring know-how was used to measure the gaze of 167 heterosexual contributors in the direction of partially and totally dressed photos of women and men.
Researchers additionally requested greater than 1,000 heterosexual contributors to self-report their very own physique gaze behaviours in the direction of the alternative intercourse. Individuals rated statements equivalent to “as soon as I discover a lovely man/girl’s physique, I’ve hassle not taking a look at it” and “regardless of the place I’m, I sometimes discover myself wanting on the our bodies of males/girls.”
“Utilizing eye monitoring, we discovered male contributors confirmed robust preferences for gazing on the our bodies of partially and totally dressed girls as a substitute of their faces,” Dr Hollett mentioned.
“Against this, girls didn’t present physique gaze preferences for any of the male or feminine imagery. The truth is, they largely confirmed balanced gaze profiles (comparable gaze in the direction of each the top and physique), apart from a desire to gaze on the heads of totally clothed males.
“Males had been additionally extra more likely to self-report gazing at girls’s our bodies greater than girls self-reported gazing at males’s our bodies.”
Attitudes in the direction of sexual assault
To supply additional context, researchers additionally checked out contributors’ relationship standing, their responses to statements about whether or not girls invite and/or tolerate sexual assault and whether or not they themselves have been the sufferer of a sexual assault.
Dr Hollett mentioned an vital discovering was the robust associations between physique gaze behaviour and sexual assault attitudes.
“Particularly, males who tended to stare upon girls’s our bodies had been extra more likely to assume that girls invite or tolerate tough sexual conduct. That’s, they had been extra more likely to agree with statements like ‘girls discover pressured intercourse a activate’ and ‘girls secretly want to be raped’,” Dr Hollett mentioned.
Dr Hollett mentioned the analysis demonstrated that extreme physique gaze was an vital social sign of doubtless dangerous attitudes and behaviours.
“After we observe somebody partaking in extreme physique gaze, we will assume they’re extra more likely to agree with sure sexual assault beliefs which could put them at greater threat of being a perpetrator,” he mentioned.
“This research has proven that comparable patterns of behaviour emerge when measuring gaze utilizing self-report and eye monitoring know-how which suggests heterosexuals are largely conscious of their gaze habits and probably use them to speak sexual curiosity and intentions to the alternative intercourse.
“Understanding how men and women take a look at one another is vital for explaining and predicting social behaviour, notably these behaviours which have dangerous penalties,” Dr Hollett mentioned.
The paper ‘Physique Gaze as a Marker of Sexual Objectification: A New Scale for Pervasive Gaze and Gaze Provocation Behaviours in Heterosexual Girls and Males’ is revealed within the Journal Archives of Sexual Behaviour.