Region of interest (ROI) based image and video processing has attracted increased research efforts in recent years. The concept of perceptual ROI, however, is not always clearly defined leading to different interpretations between researchers related to bottom-up saliency (signal driven visual attention), top-down attention (subconscious, driven by higher cognitive factors, e.g. interest) or perceived interest. While all of these concepts are likely meaningful in the context of perceptual ROI based image and video processing, it is worth understanding how they are linked altogether. In this paper, the relationship between perceived interest and overt visual attention (which can cover both bottom-up and top-down attention) is studied. Towards this goal, a dedicated ROI selection experiment was performed and is analysed in detail, revealing deep insight into perceived interest in natural images. The outcomes are compared to an eye gaze tracking experiment representing overt visual attention in natural images. It is shown that there is indeed a strong relationship between perceived interest and overt visual attention for a wide range of natural scenes. We show that the relationship has a strong dependence on image content and presentation time during the eye gaze tracking experiment. Furthermore, eye gaze tracking data is revealed to have a high predictive value of primary ROI, particularly in case of the latter dominating over the remainder of the image. Both, the ROI and the eye gaze tracking databases are made publicly available to the research community.