Plastic Surgeons Use Eye-Tracking Technology to Pinpoint the Most-Looked-At Part of the Breast

Scientists have used eye-tracking technology to pinpoint the part of the breast which men and women look at most.

The authors of the paper published in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery recruited 50 women and 50 women. The participants were asked to look at images of eight types of female breasts, and consider their aesthetics and symmetry. The computerized breasts were of varying cup sizes, and levels of sagging.

An eye-tracking device was used to chart which part of the breast participants looked at most, and for how long. To avoid bias, the participants weren't told their eye movements were being documented until after they had completed the exercise.

The results showed the volunteers were more likely to look at the lower breast and the nipple, and for the longest period of time.

The researchers hope their work could lead to better results in reconstructive and plastic surgery.

Co-author Dr. Piotr Pietruski, professor in the department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at Poland's W. Orlowski Memorial Hospital told Newsweek: "Terms such as 'beauty' or 'aesthetics' are subjective and thus poorly defined and understood."

This means there is not a standardized method for analyzing the results of aesthetic and breast surgery after the operation, he explained. "The opinions of medical professionals and patients regarding the breasts' attractiveness are often very different."

"It might seem obvious that a patient's opinion should always matter the most. On the other hand, her subjective perception of the outcome might be influenced by many factors, including negative experience with medical treatment," said Pietruski.

"Eye-tracking technology enables quantitative analysis of observers' visual perception of specific stimuli, such as comprehension of breast aesthetics and symmetry," he said. "Data such as initial fixation points or gaze duration on a specific region expands our knowledge about this process.

"We believe that eye-tracking technology could help the researchers to create a reliable universal method of breast attractiveness assessment," Pietruski said.

However, Pietruski acknowledged eye movement doesn't reveal a viewer's opinion of the breast.

He added: "Because of its preliminary character, our study included a relatively small group of raters with the same cultural background. In order to have a significant impact on the field of plastic surgery, eye-tracking technology requires a vast amount of data for analysis and comparison," he said. That would involve more studies involving a larger number of people spanning different cultures.

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Bras hang on a washing line in this stock image. Researchers have used technology to track which part of the breast most often attracts a viewer's attention. Getty