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Men and Women See Differently and Get Distracted by Different Things

Update Date: Aug 01, 2012 09:07 AM EDT

A recent study, that studied the pattern in which men and women focus on things and how they get distracted, had found that it differs widely for both the genders.

The new study conducted by University of South California shows that for men and women, the way in which their eyes wander, their attention span, and the things which distract them, differs.

Previous studies in the vision and attention area has always been disregarding factors such as sex, race and age. 

However, this latest study by Dr Laurent Itti and doctoral student John Shen, demonstrates how visual attention for men and women differs and challenges the general conception of attention.

For the study, the researchers studied 34 participants as they watched filmed interviews. While the participants watched the videos, the researchers had also set up distractions within the frame of the video like pedestrians, bicycles and cars. There was also another camera which focused on the eye movements of the participants.  

It was found that while participants watched and listened to the interview, men generally focused on the mouth of the speaker and got distracted by distinctive movement behind the interview subjects. 

However, women parked their eyes on the speaker's eyes and once in a while kept shifting their focus from the eyes to the body of the speaker. Also, women were found to be easily distracted anytime another person entered the video frame.

This research was conducted by Dr. Laurent Itti as a part of his doctoral thesis and USC Provost Neuroscience Fellowship.

The study was published in the journal Vision Research.

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