If eyes are the window to the soul, then eye movement is a dead giveaway of what a stranger is looking for as they shift their gaze while talking to you. Not that we can be totally surprised, because eyes say a lot about someone’s intentions. I mean, look at Crazy Eyes on Orange is the New Black. There’s a lot to be deduced from her adorably wonky stare.
Stephanie Cacioppo, one of the authors, said:
“Although little is currently known about the science of love at first sight or how people fall in love, these patterns of response provide the first clues regarding how automatic attentional processes, such as eye gaze, may differentiate feelings of love from feelings of desire toward strangers.”
In the study, men and women looked at photographs of strangers and indicated as quickly as possible whether they were feeling romantic love or sexual desire (Bolmont et al., 2014).
“Love is not a prerequisite for sexual desire, and sexual desire does not necessarily lead to love. Love and lust can exist by themselves or in combination, and to any degree.
In one study of 500 individuals conducted in the mid-1960s by Tennov (1999), 61% of the women and 35% of the men agreed with the statement, “I have been in love without feeling any need for sex,” and 53% of the women and 79% of the men agreed with the statement, “I have been sexually attracted without feeling the slightest trace of love.””
The team is excited for the technique’s usefulness in a whole host of potential psychiatric work, treatment, as well as further testing interpersonal relationships through things like couple’s therapy.