When you are on a date with a person you barely know, how do you evaluate that person’s goals and intentions regarding a long-term relationship with you? Love is not a prerequisite for sexual desire, and sexual desire does not necessarily lead to love. Love and lust can exist by themselves or in combination, and to any degree.Using the usual collection of heterosexual college students as subjects, the authors tracked eye movements as subjects viewed a series of photographs of persons they had never met before. In a separate session the subjects were asked whether the same photographs elicited feelings (yes or no) of sexual desire or romantic love. The results of a lot of fancy eye tracking analysis?
...subjects were more likely to fixate on the face when making decisions about romantic love than when making decisions about sexual desire, and the same subjects were more likely to look at the body when making decisions about sexual desire than when making decisions about romantic loveDuh........anyway, here is their abstract, which inexplicably doesn't include the above bottom line:
"Reading other people’s eyes is a valuable skill during interpersonal interaction. Although a number of studies have investigated visual patterns in relation to the perceiver’s interest, intentions, and goals, little is known about eye gaze when it comes to differentiating intentions to love from intentions to lust (sexual desire). To address this question, we conducted two experiments: one testing whether the visual pattern related to the perception of love differs from that related to lust and one testing whether the visual pattern related to the expression of love differs from that related to lust. Our results show that a person’s eye gaze shifts as a function of his or her goal (love vs. lust) when looking at a visual stimulus. Such identification of distinct visual patterns for love and lust could have theoretical and clinical importance in couples therapy when these two phenomena are difficult to disentangle from one another on the basis of patients’ self-reports."