Using eye tracking to identify faking attempts during penile plethysmography assessment

J Sex Res. 2014;51(8):946-55. doi: 10.1080/00224499.2013.832133. Epub 2013 Dec 5.


Penile plethysmography (PPG) is considered the most rigorous method for sexual interest assessment. Nevertheless, it is subject to faking attempts by participants, which compromises the internal validity of the instrument. To date, various attempts have been made to limit voluntary control of sexual response during PPG assessments, without satisfactory results. This exploratory research examined eye-tracking technologies' ability to identify the presence of cognitive strategies responsible for erectile inhibition during PPG assessment. Eye movements and penile responses for 20 subjects were recorded while exploring animated human-like computer-generated stimuli in a virtual environment under three distinct viewing conditions: (a) the free visual exploration of a preferred sexual stimulus without erectile inhibition; (b) the viewing of a preferred sexual stimulus with erectile inhibition; and (c) the free visual exploration of a non-preferred sexual stimulus. Results suggest that attempts to control erectile responses generate specific eye-movement variations, characterized by a general deceleration of the exploration process and limited exploration of the erogenous zone. Findings indicate that recording eye movements can provide significant information on the presence of competing covert processes responsible for erectile inhibition. The use of eye-tracking technologies during PPG could therefore lead to improved internal validity of the plethysmographic procedure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Deception*
  • Eye Movement Measurements
  • Eye Movements / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Penile Erection / physiology*
  • Plethysmography / standards*
  • Young Adult