Welcome to Francis Academic Press

Academic Journal of Humanities & Social Sciences, 2024, 7(6); doi: 10.25236/AJHSS.2024.070630.

An Eye Tracking Study Assessing Attention Biases of Suspects in Simulated Crime Scenarios


Xu Mingyue

Corresponding Author:
Xu Mingyue

Shenzhen College of International Education, Shenzhen, China, 518043


Crime is prevalent worldwide, with criminal rates on the rise in recent years. Understanding criminal psychology can aid in detecting cases by providing additional clues. This study utilized eye-tracking technology to investigate the psychological behaviors of both perpetrators and innocents. Since gaze patterns can reflect individuals’ inner cognitive processes, the research simulated a criminal case, dividing subjects into two groups: perpetrators and innocents. Each group was immersed in the case based on their respective identities. Following the identification and background briefing, participants viewed both crime-related and irrelevant stimuli on a screen. Their eye movements were recorded throughout the process. Eye tracking parameters, such as fixation duration, fixation count, first fixation duration, time to first fixation, as well as average amplitude of saccade were analyzed to assess attention bias and psychological activities. The results revealed that individuals in the criminal group exhibited longer first fixation duration and shorter time to first fixation for crime-related stimuli, suggesting higher alertness to relevant cues. Additionally, they displayed shorter total fixation duration and fewer fixation counts for these stimuli, indicating intentional avoidance of further gaze. Moreover, the perpetrator group exhibited shorter saccadic amplitudes, indicative of a higher state of psychological tension. This study offers a novel approach to understanding the attentional characteristics of criminal suspects and provides a theoretical foundation for future applications in real-world cases.


Criminal psychology; Attention vigilance; Attention avoidance; Attention bias; Eye tracking

Cite This Paper

Xu Mingyue. An Eye Tracking Study Assessing Attention Biases of Suspects in Simulated Crime Scenarios. Academic Journal of Humanities & Social Sciences (2024) Vol. 7, Issue 6: 189-194. https://doi.org/10.25236/AJHSS.2024.070630.


[1] Office for National Statistics (ONS). (2024). Crime in England and Wales, year ending September 2023. ONS website.

[2] Global Initiative. (2024). The global organized crime index 2023. Global Initiative.  

[3] Liu Tao, and & Li Minwei. (2014). The basic principle of eye-tracking technology and its application prospect in detection and identification. Net Monthly Journal (5), 5.

[4] Loftus, & Elizabeth F. (2013). 25 years of eyewitness science……finally pays off. Perspectives on Psychological Science (Sage Publications Inc.).

[5] Ren Yantao & Kang Jie. (2011). Construction of polygraph pattern based on eye movement tracking technology. Journal of China Criminal Police Academy, 000 (001), 26-28.

[6] Hu Pan, & Ren Yantao. (2015). Application of eye movement analysis in the study of detection psychology. Legal system and society.

[7] Płużyczka, M. (2018). The first hundred years: A history of eye tracking as a research method. Applied Linguistics Papers, (25/4), 101-116.

[8] Jacques, & Scott. (2015). Seeing the offenders' perspective through the eye-tracking device. Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice.

[9] Guedes, I., Fernandes, P., & Cardoso, C. (2014). Studying the contextual cues associated with fear of crime through eye tracking techniques.

[10] Yi, W. , Lu, S. , & Dekeyser, R.(2022) . Orthographic, semantic, and contextual influences on initial processing and learning of novel words during reading: evidence from eye movements.

[11] Zhou Hongyan. (2011). Eye movement research (master's thesis). The Fourth Military Medical University, Xi'an.

[12] Kim, K., Kim, J., & Lee, J. H. (2016). Guilt, lying, and attentional avoidance of concealed information.Social Behavior and personality: an international journal, 44(9) 1467–1475.

[13] Kang Tinghu, & Zhang Hui. (2020). Eye movement analysis indicators in scene perception: based on gaze and saccadic perspective. Psychological science, 43 (6), 1312-1318.