How do we look at portraits? Like this.


From TEDxRiodelaPlata speaker Mariano Sardón’s Morfologies of Gazes series (Credit: Mariano Sardón)

It turns out that the way we look at portraits is quite complex. To figure out the journey our eyes take when faced with a face, artist Mariano Sardón and a team of neuroscientists at the Laboratory for Integrative Neuroscience at the University of Buenos Aires tracked the eye movements of nearly 200 people as they looked at portraits for eight seconds.

At TEDxRiodelaPlata, Sardón explains the work: “What we get [by tracking eye movements] is how we [as viewers] build the image through time. How our eyes select certain specific parts from that face to extract information, since the rest is put together by our brain.”

This research allows Sardón to create visualizations based on how people look at art, mapping out the journey of the eye across a portrait and revealing the image through pupil-sized holes.

Learn more in his talk below:

1 Comment

  1. Sam McCaughey

    Rather than random groups I would like to see presorted groups and see how portrait painters or portrait photographers or people who do hiring at businesses differ in how they look at the faces. Would be very informative. Also the difference in looking at male faces vs female faces.

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