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Eye movements distinguish love from lust, study says

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A recent study suggests that one can determine from one's eye patterns whether or not someone is interested in romantic love or lust. The research found that one concentrates on another person's face if they are interested in that person as a potential love partner, but they view at the other person's body if it is merely a question of sexual desire, and that this judgment occurs in about half a second.

Stephanie Cacioppo, director of UChicago High-Performance Electriical NeuroImaging Laboratory, published a paper in the journal Psychological Science, along with colleagues from her University's Departments of Psychiatry and Psychology, as well as researchers from the University of Geneva. In earlier research, she examined how love and lust are associated with different regions of the brain, studying eye patterns in order to correlate these patterns with emotional and cognitive brain-states.

Students were shown black-and-white photographs of people they had never seen. Next, they looked at photographs of physically attractive people who were looking at the participant. The participants were asked in both experients whether they believed these individuals were in love or in lust, and found that the brain was able to process both states with equal speed.

Furthermore, they were able to determine that eye movement patterns differed in those who reported feeling love vs. lust. Those who focused on the face of individuals reported feelings of love, whereas those who looked at the rest of the body were focused on lust. This was as true of males as it was of females.

University of Chicago. (2014, July 17). Eye movements reveal difference between love and lust. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 19, 2014 from

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