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Women's Body Parts More Eye-Catching Than Their Face, Study Confirms

Update Date: Oct 29, 2013 03:34 PM EDT

New research has confirmed what women have always known: people check out their front-and-backs more than their faces.

New eye tracking technology reveals that males and females stare at a woman's breasts, hips and waist longer than her face when evaluating appearance.

The latest study involved 36 males and 29 female participants who were shown photographs of 10 women. All the women in the photographs were digitally manipulated to reflect three different body types.

The study revealed that male and female participants fixed their gaze on the sexual body parts of the subjects more and faces less when asked to objectify the women by evaluating their appearance rather than their personality.  Researchers also found that this effect was more pronounced for women with hourglass figures and lesser with women with smaller breasts and bigger hips.

Unsurprisingly, men distinguished between women with different body shapes regardless of whether they were focused on appearance or personality. The findings show that women with hourglass figures were generally regarded more positively than women with average or low ideal bodies. This was true even by "personality-focused" men, according to researchers.

Interestingly, the study also revealed that women also often seen to view other women as objects. This finding supports the idea that women may internalize the male gaze and self-objectify, and in turn also use it to judge other women.

"Generally speaking, people are more positive towards a more attractive woman than a less attractive one," lead researcher Sarah Gervais of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln said in a news release. "However, attractiveness may also be a liability, because while evaluating them positively, 'gazers' still focus less on individuating and personalizing features, such as faces, and more on the bodies of attractive women."

The findings are published in the journal Sex Roles

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