Love or Lust: A Quick Eye Movement Reveals

A new study confirms which eye movement signals romantic love and the feeling of lust. According to the ‘Eye-Tracking Study of Love and Sexual Desire,’ which is published in the journal Psychological Science: the visual pattern related to the perception and expression of love differ from that of lust i.e. when looking at visual stimulus, people are tempted to shift their eye gaze in accordance with their goals (love vs. lust).

Stephanie Cacioppo, one of the authors, said:

“Although little is currently known about the science of love at first sight or how people fall in love, these patterns of response provide the first clues regarding how automatic attentional processes, such as eye gaze, may differentiate feelings of love from feelings of desire toward strangers.”

Photographs of couples, and others of single person of opposite sex were given to participants to gaze at. Participants were being monitored with eye-tracking equipment which followed where they looked in the photographs, to judge whether they were feeling romantic love or sexual desire.

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Credit: Stephanie Cacioppo

Researchers found that, participants’ eyes rested at the face when thinking about romantic love. But, shifted down the body when they felt sexual desire. The green areas on the ‘heat maps’ show participants’ gaze moving southwards when they felt sexual desire.

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