Apparently people really only do care about checking out hot bods instead of looking at faces, according to a “study” of less than 100 people. Welcome to Dr. Julia Sonenshein’s Science Bonanza, wherein we debunk irresponsible articles claiming that science proves something when in fact it did no such thing.
USA Today has gotten itself all worked into a lather over what must be a preliminary study conducted by social psychologist Sarah Gervais of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. USA Today breathlessly explains that:
The eyes don’t lie: Men really do look at women’s bodies more than their faces, according to a new study that used eye-tracking technology to prove what many women have long observed. But it’s not just men who do it — the study found that women look at other women’s bodies, too.
That’s because women’s bodies are awesome! Okay, let’s get into it. Study participants were given eye-tracking systems, which measured “how long the eyes are fixed on certain spots.” Then each participant was asked to look at photographs of 10 women who each had different (digitally manipulated) body shapes. Apparently, most participants spent more time on chests and waists than on faces, and surprise, the “bodies with larger breasts, narrower waists and bigger hips often prompted longer looks.”
Before we start jumping to conclusions (oh wait, USA Today did that already), let’s just remember that this study tested less than 100 people, which simply not even close to being a large enough sample to draw any real conclusions. Here’s what we know: 29 women and 36 men were fascinated by the T&A on 10 digitally manipulated photos. I want to know what these photos looked like! How do I know that they weren’t staring at this monster?
Look, maybe everything’s bad and people are only concerned with body parts instead of making eye contact, or maybe these researchers got their hands on 65 boob-obsessed horn dogs. Before we throw in the towel and just start wearing Spiderman masks because who’s even looking, let’s wait for some more definitive research.