Selective looking at natural scenes: Hedonic content and gender

Margaret M. Bradley, Vincent D. Costa, Peter J. Lang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Choice viewing behavior when looking at affective scenes was assessed to examine differences due to hedonic content and gender by monitoring eye movements in a selective looking paradigm. On each trial, participants viewed a pair of pictures that included a neutral picture together with an affective scene depicting either contamination, mutilation, threat, food, nude males, or nude females. The duration of time that gaze was directed to each picture in the pair was determined from eye fixations. Results indicated that viewing choices varied with both hedonic content and gender. Initially, gaze duration for both men and women was heightened when viewing all affective contents, but was subsequently followed by significant avoidance of scenes depicting contamination or nude males. Gender differences were most pronounced when viewing pictures of nude females, with men continuing to devote longer gaze time to pictures of nude females throughout viewing, whereas women avoided scenes of nude people, whether male or female, later in the viewing interval. For women, reported disgust of sexual activity was also inversely related to gaze duration for nude scenes. Taken together, selective looking as indexed by eye movements reveals differential perceptual intake as a function of specific content, gender, and individual differences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)54-58
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Psychophysiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Emotion
  • Eye movements
  • Pupil
  • Scene
  • Selective looking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Physiology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Selective looking at natural scenes: Hedonic content and gender'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this