Psychological studies have shown that when individuals move their gaze between two alternative objects, they tend to choose the object that holds their gaze for longer (the gaze-manipulation effect). This effect is especially evident when both alternatives appeal to the viewer. We hypothesized that if individuals have an interest in sports and/or fashion, and thus view varieties of sportswear favorably, then gaze manipulation would influence their choice. Japanese university students participated in our experiments. The participants made preference choices between two uniforms of European football teams, which were presented alternately across the left and right sides of a computer screen six times for different durations (900 ms vs. 300 ms). They were required to compare the uniforms with or without fixing their gaze directly on them. They also completed questionnaires designed to assess their interest in football and fashion. The results showed that the gaze-manipulation effect was not significant across all participants or across those participants who merely liked fashion, or who merely watched football or casually played it. However, the effect was significant in participants who had been members of football teams. Our results suggest that application of the gaze-manipulation technique would be more effective for visual advertisement of sports items if it was focused on sports players.
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