This Valentine’s Day, take a moment to wonder why you’re so attracted to eyes. You can “keep your eyes peeled,” “see eye-to-eye” with some but “turn a blind eye” to others. Some people are “more than meets the eye,” others are “the apple of your eye” or “a sight for sore eyes.” Or you might “not bat an eye” to something unusual while making sure no one can “pull the wool over your eyes.”
So, what’s so special about eyes? For humans, eyes are more than just our windows to the outside world. They’re also portals inward, providing glimpses into our inner thoughts and feelings. Our eyes are also powerful tools. They can pick up so many subtle messages, even slight changes in other’s bodies. For instance:
– Eye contact indicates interest, disinterest or even intimidation
– Changes in pupillary size happen as interest in another peaks or wanes
– Skin tone and texture alterations due to changes in blood flow caused by emotions
– Tension or release of minute facial and scalp muscles, also due to emotional changes
– Lock eyes with the one you love
You can’t boil the complexity of love down to just a wink, a nod and a grin. However, it’s clear your eyes are intimately involved with physical attraction, probably seduction and even the dynamics of romantic love. Eye contact is a key part of human interpersonal communication. We identify a good deal from another’s gaze – whether they’re feeling negative or positive, interested or blasé. Eye contact is a key way to understand if someone is flirting, engaging with you or has a deeper connection.
In fact, some scientists believe eye contact is a powerful stimulator of affection. They claim when you look someone who finds you attractive directly in the eyes, his/her body produces a chemical called phenylethylamine (a natural amphetamine), that enhances their tendency to feel ‘in love.’
Love or Lust? It’s all in the gaze
What happens when someone suddenly changes their gaze to look directly at you, combining the social cue of eye contact with a sudden movement? This phenomenon has been extensively researched and it appears two independent channels work together to enhance our engagement with such sudden looks. A study by University of Chicago researchers has found that the difference between love and lust might just start with the eyes. They found that automatic judgments about whether you’re a potential love interest or sexual partner can happen in as little as half a second, producing different gaze patterns. If your date gazes directly at your face, it could mean they see you as a potential romantic partner. But if they’re staring more at your body, sexual desire is on the cards. The researchers also found there was no significant difference in the time subjects took to identify romantic love versus sexual desire, which shows how quickly the brain can process both emotions.
Women appear more naturally aware that eye contact can activate men’s hormones and interest. …Read more