Eye tracking can reveal an unbelievable amount of information about you


The windows of your soul can reveal an extraordinary amount about you, especially when a machine learning algorithm is watching PHOTO/hquality/Depositphotos

Eye tracking technology is starting to pop up more and more, keeping track of where you’re looking and how your pupils and irises are reacting for a variety of different purposes. It doesn’t require particularly complex technology; a HD video camera that can watch your face is enough to collect the data.

But according to a 2020 research review, this data can divulge an extraordinary amount of information about you when it’s crunched through advanced data analysis systems. “Our analysis of the literature,” reads the paper’s abstract, “shows that eye tracking data may implicitly contain information about a user’s biometric identity, gender, age, ethnicity, body weight, personality traits, drug consumption habits, emotional state, skills and abilities, fears, interests, and sexual preferences.”

That’s not all; “Certain eye tracking measures,” says the review, “may even reveal specific cognitive processes and can be used to diagnose various physical and mental health conditions.” According to Grandview Research, “the analyzed data is used to study a myriad of psychiatric and neurological conditions, such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), Parkinson‘s, Alzheimer‘s, and Schizophrenia, among others.”

What exactly are they looking at? Yes, eye tracking systems can see which way your eyes are pointing to infer what you’re looking at, but that’s far from the end of the story. They can also track the length of fixations, rapid eye motions between fixations, smooth pursuit movements and things like the acceleration and maximum speed of your eye movements.

They can analyze your eyelids, watching how far open your eyes are, how often you’re blinking and how long your eyes are staying shut when you do. They can take note of redness and see how watery or dry your eyes are through reflections. They can measure the dilation of your pupils – famously an indication of sexual interest or arousal, but also linked to drug use, fear and certain types of brain damage. They can note your eye color and iris texture.

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