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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Validation of MouseView.js as an online alternative to eye-tracking in sex research Jafari Milani, Sonia


Attention is a key mechanism underlying many aspects of sexuality and researchers have relied on eye-tracking technology to demonstrate that attention is both sustained by sexual stimuli and corresponds with sexual interest. Despite its utility in the field, eye-tracking experiments are limited to being conducted in a laboratory setting. Given restrictions to in-laboratory research due to the COVID-19 pandemic, exploring an online eye-tracking platform is timely. The overarching objective of this research was to validate a novel online method, MouseView.js, for assessing attentional processing of sexual stimuli. MouseView.js is an open-source, web-based application in which mouse cursor movements mimic eye movements. Study 1 was conducted to first examine whether MouseView.js was capable of detecting attentional biases to sexual versus nonsexual stimuli, whereas study 2 was conducted to replicate and extend these findings to test the robustness of the effects. Results from both studies revealed evidence for response specificity (i.e., response patterns that are specific to processing sexual stimuli relative to nonsexual stimuli) and convergent validity (i.e., dwell times that correlate with self-report sexuality measures). These findings will have a broad impact. Not only do the results mirror those observed for time-intensive eye-tracking research, this freely available instrument for gaze tracking offers important advantages to traditional eye-tracking methods. These include the ability to recruit larger and more diverse samples, thereby strengthening the generalizability of research findings.

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