Besides observing gross body postures and movements, the eyes can detect tiny changes in the bodies of others. Laboratory instrumentation has shown that some of these slight changes are detected at the subconscious level and affect blood flow related to sexual arousal. These slight body changes in others alert us to how they are feeling about us from moment to moment. Here are some of the subtle changes the eyes can detect.
Our eyes are very expressive and send many body language messages in numerous ways. For example:
Compared to the primates, only humans have a white area around the center colored portion of their eye. And even though the male eye is slightly larger than the female eye, the female eye has a higher proportion of white showing. Women interested in attracting men's attention will do well to use wide-eyed and darting eye movements to flash as much eye white area as often as possible. Men are attracted to that!
Men are attracted to young healthy women because they have the best success in producing healthy offspring. Bright, white areas in a woman's eyes plus long, thick eyelashes are excellent indicators of female good health. Women know how their eye contact can activate men's hormones and interest. Therefore, women are very careful to avoid eye contact with men in public - unless the women want attention. If a woman wants attention from a man, she knows eye contact (plus a little smile) is one of the fastest ways to get it.
One of the important considerations for men choosing a mate is the female's age. Age difference is not as important to women, but men in all cultures prefer young women. Over eons, this selection criteria by men has been to their advantage for producing the maximum number of healthy offspring. Young women have the least chromosome damage and therefore have the best chance in producing healthy babies.
An unconscious cue men use to recognize youth in a woman is the size of her ears compared to the size of her eyes.
The ears and nose continue to grow constantly as we age, but the eye size remains nearly the same throughout life. Cartoonists know this and use it to make their characters appear young and appealing by drawing them with large eyes and small nose and ears. Women throughout history have also taken advantage of this fact and made themselves look younger by using makeup to increase the apparent size of their eyes. And for enough money, surgery can change the nose and ears to remove a decade or two.
At the right is a woman with her 95-year-old ears. (The rest of her is also 95!) Compare her ear size with the much younger woman above. Older women who wish to appear as young as possible may want to wear their hair long to cover their ears!
Here is a flirting signal women often use during conversation with a man. As she speaks, she looks to her upper right side. This does two things. First, a large area of white is revealed indicating "femaleness" and good health. Second, looking up to the right indicates she is thinking mental pictures about the FUTURE. That might raise his curiosity! He may wonder, "Is she picturing the same thing I am?" (Probably not!)
If she looks up to her left (observer's right-- as in this picture), this indicates she is thinking mental pictures about the PAST. (Maybe she recalls last night!)
These eye movement patterns are done naturally by nearly everyone who thinks with mental pictures. (Some small number of people think in sounds and some with feelings.) Of course, if you plan to use this in flirting, you should enhance your eyes with an abundance of eye mascara, eye shadow, and perfectly shaped healthy eyebrows. This body language eye movement, when done slowly and with a coy head tilt, can greatly stimulate a man. It is an art form that the best flirters develop to a highly effective level.
The eye is truly a magnificent organ with a remarkable structure that we take for granted. The retina (back of the eyeball) is made up of 137 million cells. As we look out and study the world around us, there are one-and-a-half million simultaneous messages going to the brain each moment. For efficiency, the data flow is reduced as most of the retina cells (130 million out of 137 million) see only in black and white. Only a relatively few cells (7 million) respond to color. This greatly reduces the amount of information the brain must process from moment to moment.
There are approximately 200 tiny hairs called eyelashes immediately above and below the eye. They grow only to a fixed length and then fall out in about 3 to 5 months. Each hair is replaced by another one, and none has time to turn gray like other hair on the body. The life span of the hairs in our eyebrows is about the same, but some of the replacement eyebrow hairs may become gray as we grow older.
Tear ducts in the eyes secrete a fluid to keep the eyes clean and lubricated. The tears are antibacterial and keep the eyes free of infection even though they are exposed to uncountable bacteria in the air. When we cry, the tears, facial expressions, and sounds send body language messages to indicate happiness, sadness or distress. Most primates and land animals do not weep. However, there are reports indicating that seals and sea otters do weep and shed tears when emotionally distressed, such as when they have lost their young. A woman in Australia reported accidentally killing a kangaroo with her automobile and later seeing the mate standing over it and weeping.
The dark center of the eye called the pupil, is constantly sending unconscious body language messages. The pupil is an excellent and reliable broadcaster of emotions. When the pupil is closed down to a small opening (when not in bright light) it indicates a lack of interest or something distasteful. Dilated (wide open) pupils indicate high interest. When talking to a partner of the opposite sex, this high interest may be "desire". When a person looks around, at the mouth and maybe even lower body parts, there is "lust in those orbs!"
Since the eyes are our most powerful body language message transmitters, here are some general rules about using your eyes:
It is OK to look into the eyes of another person for longer periods of time than normal under these circumstances:
© Copyright 2005, revised 2009 by Lawrence Rodrigues, M.S., Director: EastWest Institute for Self-Understanding.
All rights reserved worldwide.