What Can Your Eyes Say About Your Sexual Preferences? Part 1

Who doesn't like a little "eye candy"? We all do, and apparently our eyes can give away who we find attractive. I will be discussing a study that reports this, and this blog will cover its design, and the science behind it.

An article on popular science discusses a study where scientists at Cornell University used pornography and pupil dilation to see if one's pupils can give any clue about a person's sexual orientation. The scientists studied 325 people, male and female, who self-reported their sexual identity. Both genders were subjected to two 30-second videos: one of a male masturbating, and one of a female masturbating. Between these two, they were shown a one-minute video of a blank landscape to act as a control between the two pornographic ones.

The experimental design here seems sound to me. The reason why the scientists chose to measure pupil dilation as opposed to, say, erection size for males, is because pupil dilation is completely involuntary. As told in this article, when attracted to someone, your brain secretes norepinephrine, which forces your pupils to dilate. Because some men can control their erections, measuring a reaction that we have no control over (and aren't aware of, for that matter) is a much more accurate way to measure sexual arousal.

The reason our brains do this to our eyes is because we subconsciously analyze other people's eyes when evaluating them for attractiveness. If we see that someone's pupils have dilated while looking at us, it is a subconscious indication that they find us attractive, and that we are likely to receive reciprocated feelings from that person should we choose to pursue them.

The sample size is also quite large, although the gender ratio of the 325 participants wasn't stated, I believe it's safe to assume that it was close to 50:50.

In my next blog, I will discuss the study's fascinating results.


This is a very interesting study that you are discussing. I do like the plan to measure the dilation of pupils versus any other reaction that is more commonly linked to sexual attraction. It definitely is something that can not be controlled, therefore, not easily hidden. However, a question that popped into my head while reading, which could possibly, for me, change the results of the experiment, is were the men being tested aware that they were being examined? I feel that if they had some indication as to why they were being shown these pornographic images, they could somehow control the way in which they viewed the video. But I assume I will have to wait for your next blog to find out!

This is a very interesting topic .I remember reading an article in 17 Magazine saying "you know if a guy is into you if you catch him staring at you" or "look into a guys eyes if he is talking to you, if his pupils dilate that means he really likes you because he is concentrating on you and wants to take in and focus as much as he can " . At first I laughed and didn't believe it, but now after reading your article it reenforces this even more . I look forward to reading up to see the results . In the meantime if you want to check out this article I found it very interesting..http://markmanson.net/the-levels-of-eye-contact

I've heard this before! I remember being told that pupil size will increase and your eyes will also widen when you see something you like. From time to time when it crosses my mind I will sometimes catch myself opening my eyes a little wider when I see something like food or that pretty girl that just walked by... Anyways I'll be sure to read the next part of your blog post!

Leave a comment

Subscribe to receive notifications of follow up comments via email.
We are processing your request. If you don't see any confirmation within 30 seconds, please reload your page.

Search This Blog

Full Text  Tag

Recent Entries

An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away?
We have all heard the expression, "an apple a day keeps the doctor away." My question is, does eating…
Accents are weird
I have always wondered why people have accents. Why cant I look at a Spanish word, with all the…
Creatine will make you bigger
Creatine monohydrate is an extremely common dietary supplement for people who are trying to build muscle. In this blog…

Old Contributions