Looking Time Predicts Choice but Not Aesthetic Value

Eve A. Isham, Joy J. Geng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Although visual fixations are commonly used to index stimulus-driven or internally-determined preference, recent evidence suggests that visual fixations can also be a source of decisional bias that moves selection toward the fixated object. These contrasting results raise the question of whether visual fixations always index comparative processes during choice-based tasks, or whether they might better reflect internal preferences when the decision does not carry any economic or corporeal consequences. In two experiments, participants chose which of two objects were more aesthetically pleasing (Exp.1) or appeared more organic (Exp.2), and provided independent aesthetic ratings of the stimuli. Our results demonstrated that fixation parameters were a better index of choice in both decisional domains than of aesthetic preference. The data support models in which visual fixations are specifically related to the evolution of decision processes even when the decision has no tangible consequences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere71698
JournalPloS one
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 16 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General


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