Society today is trying to make-up for lost time during the western world’s patriarchal culture and bridge the gap between genders. For a safe transition between the sexes in society, however, maybe it’s important to understand where men and women are fundamentally different. A recent study, for instance, shows that men and women view the world differently, and I’m not talking figuratively.

Psychologists at University of Bristol found that men and women focus their attention on different “hot spots” when viewing a photo. Also, a significant difference between the two genders in how much of the picture they explored was found.

The results came after the researchers asked 26 men and 26 women, aged between 19 and 47, to study a set of various photographs depicting still images from  films or taken of artwork. This included scenes from The Sound of MusicInside Man, and The Blue Planet, and artwork including “People in the Sun” by Edward Hopper and “Three Graces” by David Bowers.

The participants tended to focus their attention anywhere from one to five hotspots. Men chose most of the time to focus their gaze first on hotspots like the head, especially the eyes, or hands. Women on the other hand, focused their attention to nonfacial areas and places slightly below where men fixed their gaze. Also, women  explored more of an image than men did.

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(c) Felix Mercer Moss

(c) Felix Mercer Moss

Psychologists have yet to come to a consensus as to what exactly triggers this behavior and future research intends to establish this. Felix Mercer Moss, lead author of the study and  doctoral student at the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom, speculates that this is a phenomenon sparked by  risk aversion. Eye contact is considered in many western cultures as provocative and threatening. “Women may be attaching more risk to looking people in the eye,” Mercer Moss noted.

The present research comes just weeks after a similar topic was tackled by a different study, independent from the current one. Researchers at the City University of New York (CUNY) showed that guys’ eyes are more sensitive to small details and moving objects, while women are more perceptive to color changes. Testosterone plays a major role, somehow leading to different connectivity between males and females, the scientists suggested in the study published in the  journal Biology of Sex Differences.

Findings were published in the journal PLoS One.

via National Geographic