Eye reading might give you the most accurate information about others, because pupils work independently of conscious control.
The power of eyes is undeniable. We say sad eyes, happy eyes, angry eyes, piercing eyes, bedroom eyes. Eye reading ability is obviously present in each of us, although it is not clear how exactly we do it. When we meet someone for the first time we make series of quick judgments based on what we see in his or her eyes.
People’s mood changes find their expression in their eyes. As Eckhard Hess, biopsychologist at the University of Chicago noticed, the pupil size is affected by one’s emotion. If you are excited, your pupils can dilate up to four times.
Conversely, if you are experiencing anger or another negative emotion, your pupils shrink in size. Eckhard Hess tested this by showing pin-ups of the opposite sex to heterosexual men and women. When they saw the pin ups the pupils of their eyes would enlarge. Interestingly, the pupils
of participant would shrink if he or she saw pin-ups of the same sex person. Not fun!
Similarly, when people were asked to look at pleasant pictures of non-sexual character their pupils would enlarge. If they looked at unpleasant pictures like images of disabled children their pupils would shrink.
In another study Eckhard Hess showed men two sets of images of women. In the first one, the pupils of each woman were enlarged. In the second one, the pupils of each woman had been reduced. As a result, men preferred the photos of the women with enlarged pupils, however none of them could explain what made the difference.
The same was true with group of women when they were shown two sets of images of men. Women preferred images of men with enlarged pupils.
The discoveries made by Hess in seventies were successfully applied as an effective way of increasing sales of such products like cosmetics, clothing and hair products. This was achieved by altering photos of models to make the pupil area larger.
In another study, Hess showed participants pictures of a naked man, a naked woman, a mother and a baby, a baby and a landscape. Men’s pupils were the largest when they saw the picture of a naked woman. Women’s pupils were the largest when they saw the picture of the mother and the baby. Naked man’s picture was at the second place!
Dilating pupils are also signal of courtship. Maybe this is the reason why romantic encounters succeed in dimly lit places, because pupils naturally dilate in such light conditions.
The lovers gaze into each other’s eyes subconsciously looking for pupil-dilation. Pupil dilation has reciprocal effect. When men looked at images of women with dilated pupils their pupils enlarged and vice-versa.
Similarly to body language, eye contact is a form of non-verbal communication. By the means of eye contact people express their emotions, including attraction. Eye contact is such a powerful stuff (see The Power of Eye Contact ) that most people will try to avoid in most situations.
There are several kinds of eye contact that have different meanings. For example, a brief eye contact that lasts just a split second simply means that the person acknowledges your existence, kind of way of saying ‘I see you’.
Longer eye contact that lasts 1-2 seconds could mean that the person recognizes you or that he or she finds you attractive and could be interested.
Extended eye contact that lasts 3 or more seconds means that the person is definitely interested and you affect him or her.