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Saturday, January 9, 2016

Men Fall for a Woman's Large, Neotenous Eyes

She'll expose you, when she snows you
Off your feet with the crumbs she throws you
She's ferocious and she knows just
What it takes to make a pro blush
All the boys think she's a spy,
She's got Bette Davis eyes

--From "Betty Davis Eyes" by Kim Carnes. Songwriters: Jackie DeShannon, Donna Weiss

Beautiful eyes -- sexy, alluring, and bewitching. Men are putty in the hands of a woman with beautiful eyes. One special glance from a woman can instantly ignite a flame in a man's heart. We've all heard the saying that the eyes are the windows to the soul, but exactly how do gorgeous orbs really light an enduring fire? What do the eyes "say" in their own special, reflective language? 

However sexy eyes work their magic, it isn't because men are experts at reading women's feelings. Men are traditionally thought to have more problems in understanding women compared to understanding other men. And, research supports this. One study shows that men have twice as much trouble deciphering women's emotions from images of their eyes as they do with deciphering emotion from images of other men's eyes.

The fact that men have problems recognizing women’s emotions linked to difficulties in extracting the relevant information from the eye region is somewhat puzzling since the eyes remain one of the richest sources of social information for the attribution of mental states to others. Are brains that different? This some study also found parts of the male brain tied to emotion don't activate as strongly when the men looked at women's eyes.

“From women's eyes this doctrine I derive:
They sparkle still the right Promethean fire;
They are the books, the arts, the academes,
That show, contain and nourish all the world.”
― William Shakespeare, Love's Labour's Lost

What qualities of the eyes most weave enchantment? According to several studies, research has shown that men generally find larger eyes on women more attractive.

In fact, the perceived attractiveness of larger eyes has led to a growing trend (especially in Asia) of women using cosmetics and contact lenses with larger limbal rings in an attempt to create the illusion of larger eyes. Many have even done this permanently through cosmetic surgery.

Why do men find larger eyes more attractive? Two separate reasons attempt to address the question:

1. Larger eyes (like fuller lips and bigger breasts) are a sign of higher levels of estrogen. It is traditionally thought that women with have higher levels of estrogen will be more successful and have an easier time conceiving than women with lower levels, and thus be better mates.

2. Larger eyes are considered a neotenous feature, a retention of juvenile characteristics that has evolved to retain so a species could attract quality mates with “protective and nurturing impulses." People who have large eyes are often perceived to be younger than they really are. Since the perceived youth of a mate is also a sign of fertility, men tend to prefer women with neotenous features, like large eyes.

However, this isn’t saying that men want to mate with babies and small children -- that would be incredibly maladaptive because they are not fecund (fertile). So, then, why do males usually prefer women who, in essence, look like babies?

Scientists explain humans' neotenous fascination with large eyes this way:

"It’s thanks to something that happens in evolution called Fisherian runaway selection. Fisherian selection suggests that, when one sex prefers mates with certain genetic traits, then, through the process of sexual selection, the other sex will come to possess the trait in increasingly exaggerated forms.

"The process is called 'runaway' because over time, it would cause the development of greater preference and more pronounced traits, until the costs of producing the trait balance the reproductive benefit of possessing it. The peacock’s tail is a perfect example of this. Its tail requires a great deal of energy to grow and maintain, it reduces the bird’s agility, and increases the animal’s visibility to predators. Yet, it has evolved which indicates that peacocks with longer tails have some advantage. This same process occurs with men’s preference for women with neotenous features."

("Why Do Men Find Women With Larger Eyes Attractive." June 02, 2011.)

In other words, big female eyes full of surging hormones emit a youthful glow that men cannot ignore. No wonder we are so stupefied when lovely ladies cast their incredible peepers our way. We are immediately smitten with orbital magic to which our brains are helplessly programmed to respond. Advertising companies know this and often take advantage by enlarging the pupils of  models on the covers of magazines to tempt people to buy them.

In fact, one study conducted by Murine, the company that makes eye drops, claims a lovely pair of eyes is the first thing about a woman to draw a man's attention. Murine surveyed 1,000 British men and women about the body parts they first notice in the opposite sex. The result -- eyes first.

And, yes, the same study claims predictably a man's gaze does wander south next, taking in a lady’s dazzling smile before an appreciative glance at her breasts. Here are the results in the order attention:

The order in which men notice women's body parts:

1. Eyes
2. Smile
3. Breasts
4. Hair
5. Weight
6. Legs
7. Clothing
8. Derrière
9. Height
10. Skin

(Nathan Rao. "Men are attracted to women's eyes before their cleavage."
Daily Express. U.K. August 22, 2013.)

Size Matters When She Dilates Those Sexy Pupils

And, what about a woman who masters the subtleties of eye contact? The employment of the eyes is said to be the most striking human courting ploy, especially in Western cultures where eye contact between the sexes is permitted. (By the way, baboons do it too.) Helen E. Fisher, American anthropologist and human behavior researcher, reports that men and women often stare intently at potential mates for about two to three seconds during which their pupils may dilate -- a sign of extreme interest. Then, the starer drops his or her eyelids and looks away.

Fisher continues ...

"No wonder the custom of the veil has been adopted in so many cultures. Eye contact seems to have an immediate effect. The gaze triggers a primitive part of the human brain, calling forth one of two basic emotions—approach or retreat. You cannot ignore the eyes of another fixed on you; you must respond. You may smile and start conversation. You may look away and edge toward the door. But first you will probably tug at an earlobe, adjust your sweater, yawn, fidget with your eyeglasses, or perform some other meaningless movement—a "displacement gesture"—to alleviate anxiety while you make up your mind how to acknowledge this invitation, whether to flee the premises or stay and play the courting game."

(Helen E. Fisher. "The Biology of Attraction." Psychology Today. April 01, 1993.)

In general, the bigger the eye pupils, the more favorable and excited the response. Pupils dilate when people see something they like, as if they wish "to grasp" more of what they see. Not only do dilated pupils show a positive response in someone, but humans also find them more appealing to look at. That's why babies are "programmed" to dilate their eye's pupils when looking at adults -- they get more affection points by doing so.

Men unknowingly view women with big pupils as more attractive. It's nothing new, and women know it. Over 500 years ago, women in Italy used extract from the Belladonna plant to dilate their pupils because they believed it would increase their attractiveness. The word Belladonna literally means “beautiful lady.”

So, I when it comes to pupils, size matters -- be it natural or an enhanced illusion.

"As soon as I had seen her, I was lost. For Beauty's wound is sharper than any weapon's, and it runs through the eyes down to the soul. It is through the eye that love's wound passes, and I now became a prey to a host of emotions."

--Clitophon describing his love at first sight with Leucippe in an ancient Greek love story by Achilles Tatius

In the end, we men know we love her eyes. We may become a hot mess when she makes eye contact, or we may feel rejected when she doesn't, yet we first find confirmation or rejection through her chosen manipulation of the eyeballs. When you break it down, it sounds simplistic and not even remotely romantic, but, most likely, the eyes are the strongest organ of sexual attraction.

Females pay so much attention to enhancements like thick makeup to frame a set of eyes. I feel very often too much painting and other manipulation actually detract from the natural beauty of the eyes. I know most women will disagree, but some researchers found even though many women decide to wear makeup to make themselves “more” attractive, they may be overdoing it.

In the Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, a study found that people’s perceptions of what men and women find attractive are off. Researchers concluded that women are putting on makeup (foundation, lipstick, blush and mascara) for a perceived standard of beauty that may not actually exist.

“So a more natural look makes you appear more attractive to others,” says Alex Jones, Ph.D, a co-author of the study and researcher at the School of Psychology at Bangor University. Yet the research also showed that not only do women think men prefer a lot of makeup, but men believe this as well.

“It seems we are all quite bad at understanding what others find attractive, and this can lead to self-esteem issues …, ” says Jones. He is particularly interested in how we make ourselves attractive to the opposite sex and if these behaviors work. For example, this is similar to the beliefs that men find skinny figures attractive while women like muscular bodies, which research has also proven inaccurate, he says.

“Taken together, these results suggest that women are likely wearing cosmetics to appeal to the mistaken preferences of others. These mistaken preferences seem more tied to the perceived expectancies of men, and, to a lesser degree, of women,” the authors wrote.

(Alex L. Jones, Robin S. Kramer, and Robert Ward. "Miscalibrations in judgements
of attractiveness with cosmetics." The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology,
Volume 67. 2014.)

Eye enhancements? Strong or subtle, the frame is so less conducive to aesthetic approval than the combined art of the pupil, the cornea, the iris, and the lens. Powerful emotion and expression within the unique, physical beauty of the creation make each set of feminine eyes a fingerprint of her innermost attraction.

"Love is when you look into someone's eyes and
you see everything you need."


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