Does visual framing drive eye gaze behavior? The effects of visual framing of athletes in an increasingly visual social media world

Previous research on the effects of visual framing of athletes has inferred that photographic visual frames drive visual behavior by demonstrating that visual frames influence picture viewers’ evaluative ratings and memory for the pictures. This study uses eye-tracking methodology to ask if these previous findings are actually the result of visual frames driving eye gaze/visual behavior. The study operationalizes the selection function of framing as time to first fixation and the emphasis/salience function as dwell time. Results show large effects of type of visual frame on the time to first location fixation on the body compared to the face and dwell time on the body compared to the face. Results show that body framed pictures (athletic active and sexualized) drive visual behavior toward faster fixations on bodies and higher dwell time on bodies, while face framed pictures (athletic passive and personal frames) lead to faster fixations on faces and longer dwell time on faces. Additional analyses show that these effects are further influenced by the biological sex of both the athlete in the picture and the person viewing the picture.


Eye-movement data were collected using iMotions biometric research plat- form. A small desktop-mounted Logitech HD Pro webcam C920 was located at the top of the computer monitor presenting the stimuli. The camera transmitted the data to a second computer.



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