Study Says Large Irises Make People More Attractive

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Last reviewed: 14.06.2024

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13 June 2024, 18:44

New research led by Zachary Estes, a professor of marketing at Beys (formerly Cass) Business School, and researchers from the University of Amsterdam (Netherlands) and the University of California, Los Angeles, examined how a person's eyes influence their perceived attractiveness.

The article "Beauty is in the Iris: Constricted Pupils (Enlarged Irises) Improve Attractiveness" was published online in Cognition.

Researchers conducted six experiments testing the effect of pupil size on attractiveness. The pupil is the dark ring in the center of the eye, and the iris is the colored ring around it. Researchers showed nearly 3,000 participants portraits and images of men and women with blue or brown eyes. These images were edited so that one version showed eyes with constricted pupils and another with dilated pupils.

Example stimuli (attractive women) used in Experiment 1. Source: Cognitive Psychology (2024). DOI: 10.1016/j.cognition.2024.105842

The participants were then asked to rate how attractive the faces were. The study found that faces with smaller pupils that showed larger irises were perceived as more attractive.

The experiments also tested whether participants considered faces with larger irises more attractive because they were brighter in color or because the eyes appeared brighter. The results were similar when participants rated black-and-white pictures of people with dilated and constricted pupils, proving that the effect was not related to iris color.

Professor Zachary Estes, from Bays (formerly Cass) Business School at City University London, said: "For more than 50 years, researchers have been unable to determine whether people look more attractive with dilated or constricted pupils. Our research shows that constricted pupils increase physical fitness." attractiveness, making the eyes brighter.

"Of course, looks aren't everything, but sometimes we want to look our best. Our research shows that people look more attractive when their irises are larger, which is reflected in the brightness of their eyes."

Dr. Maria Trupia, a postdoctoral fellow at the UCLA Anderson School of Management, added: "Previous research has shown that physical attractiveness influences a wide range of life outcomes, and scientists have been identifying characteristics that influence perceived attractiveness for decades. Our research identifies a new attribute: pupil size." ".

Dr Martina Cossu from the University of Amsterdam concluded: "During the Renaissance, women used drops of the belladonna plant to enlarge their pupils and make themselves attractive. Almost 400 years later, our research shows that they lost sight of the fact that bright eyes with They look more attractive with constricted pupils than with dilated pupils."

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