What color makes blue eyes pop out

Unconscious signals: what our eyes reveal about us

The incidence of light into the eye is regulated by the iris, the rainbow skin. It can narrow or widen the pupil using two muscles in the iris. The muscles are controlled by the vegetative, i.e. unconscious, nervous system. If the autonomic nervous system is activated in a situation in which the brain recognizes the need for increased attention, the pupils dilate. This means that more light gets into the eye and more of the environment can be perceived as a result. One then speaks of eyes wide with fright.

Eyes as the gateway to the soul

No matter how well someone can hide fear, fear can always be read in their eyes. That is why we intuitively look at the eye region when looking at a face. Ralph Adolphs and his team from the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena have found that this gives us an insight into the emotional world of our counterpart. To do this, the researchers examined a patient in whom the amygdala was damaged in both halves of the brain. This area of ​​the brain, also known as the almond kernel, which belongs to the so-called limbic system, is responsible for linking sensory impressions and feelings. In a series of experiments, Adolphs found that the patient could not see fear in a face. So far it was unclear why that is.

In their study, the researchers compared the patient's behavior with that of healthy people. The result: people with an intact amygdala spontaneously focus on the eye area when assessing the mood of the person in a photo. The patient, on the other hand, studied other areas of the faces and ignored the eyes. Therefore, she could easily see a feeling like joy, which is also evident in the mouth area. But when it comes to fear, which is mainly shown by wide eyes, her assessment failed.

Dilated pupils as an ideal of beauty

Dilated pupils can also be a sign of drug use. For example, the consumption of hallucinogens such as LSD leads to dilated pupils. Some medications can also dilate the pupils as a side effect. Large eyes with dilated pupils used to be the ideal of beauty. Many women therefore dripped the poison atropine, also known as belladonna, from the deadly nightshade into their eyes to dilate their pupils. Ophthalmologists still use atropine today to look deeper into their patients' eyes.

The eyes also play a major role when choosing a partner. Looking into the other person's eyes is an essential factor in communication between two people. This is especially true when flirting, where you usually look deep into the eyes. Because they reveal a lot. They show whether the conversation partner is interested, and feelings such as sympathy and antipathy can also be read from them.

People perceive these signals unconsciously. Dilated pupils in this context are perceived by the subconscious as a sign of attention and emotional involvement.

Character traits can be recognized by the iris

A Swedish study even cites the fact that many more character traits of a person are shown in the pattern of the iris. Mats Larsson from the University of Örebro examined the eyes of 428 students who then underwent a standardized personality test.

Result: Small, lenticular furrows that extend outward from the pupil indicate characteristics such as empathy, trust and openness. The denser the furrows, the more pronounced these properties are. So-called contraction rings, which are delicate arched sections or circles around the pupil, occur more frequently in impulsive and neurotic people as well as in those with great self-discipline.