This guest post was written by Tracy Tierney, who is the newest member of the VSP Global Public Relations team.
Our eyes may be the way we see the world, but they also allow the world to see us – or at least see who we’re attracted to.
Research shows that our pupils dilate at the sight of someone we find attractive. One study even found that our eyes respond similarly when we see someone for whom we feel long-term, intense romantic love. Specifically, that study found that when subjects viewed facial images of their partner (versus a friend or less familiar person), levels of dopamine increased in the brain – and dopamine causes pupil dilation.
History, along with research, points to the idea that we find folks with larger irises more appealing. In Renaissance Italy, women would put drops extracted from the Belladonna plant in their eyes to dilate them and ultimately attract suitors. Unfortunately, this proved to be a dangerous practice as the Belladonna plant is highly toxic, and prolonged use in the eyes causes blurred vision and even permanent blindness. Coincidentally, eye doctors still use the active ingredient in Belladonna, atropine, to dilate our eyes today.
So take note this holiday – it might not be a bouquet of flowers or box of chocolates that proves your valentine loves you. It could be as simple as looking into his or her eyes!