The Science Behind Love at First Sight

Love at first sight is a debated phenomenon among the scientific world. Some scientists argue that love at first sight is a myth designed for romance novels, while others say that love at first sight is a micro moment that can be experienced with anyone. Whatever the case may be, it starts with something FSN Eye knows well: eyes.

Like cupid’s arrow

Before we fall in love, the visual receptors in our eyes send signals to our brain to judge whether we find someone attractive. If what we see is received by our brain as attractive, the neurons in our brain flood our system with chemicals associated with feeling good—like dopamine. These chemicals in turn produce a variety of physical and emotional responses such as flushed cheeks, sweaty palms, racing heart rate and you guessed it —dilated pupils.

Fun Fact: Studies have found that our pupils can dilate “up to three times their normal size” when we’re in the presence of someone we find attractive. Read more about the role of pupil size in attraction and communication from biopsychologist Eckhard Hess PhD.

Put into perspective, this chain reaction of responses take place because of our eyes, making them a powerful agent of love, much like cupid himself.

But how do you know if it’s love and not lust?

Using eye-tracking analysis, University of Chicago researches found that where a person concentrates their gaze can indicate if what they’re experiencing is love or lust for someone they first meet. For example, if you find someone looking more at your body than at your face and eyes, their intentions are more likely to be lust than love.

Fun Fact: When we’re interested in someone romantically our eye blink rate decreases and our length of eye contact increases. Read more about how we convey our attraction to people with our eyes from James A. Grant-Jacob, PhD.

Other signs that can indicate someone is attracted to you include:

  • Shining eyes
  • Raised eyebrows
  • Uneven eye contact distribution
  • Looking at you after you’ve said something funny
  • Looking away when they catch you looking at you
  • They make sure they are in your line of sight whenever you move

Can You Help Love At First Sight Along?

Apparently psychologists have been trying to find out how to make people fall in love for years. In fact a study done in 1997 found that four minutes of eye contact would create intimacy in strangers and one of pair of test subjects ended up getting married after the experiment. Since then, there have been countless follow up experiments documenting the effects of sustained eye contact in creating closer interpersonal relationships between lovers, strangers, friends, and foes.

So what’s the verdict?

Is love at first sight real or is it just a strong initial attraction? It could be both. Love at first sight has only lightly been investigated scientifically and the scientific community is no where close to answer. But suffice to say, our eyes play an important role in the falling love process and forming long lasting connections with the ones we love.

Here at Fisher-Swale-Nicholson Eye Center we value the connections that we help make. That’s why we are committed to “helping you see your best.” The sharper your vision is, the deeper the connections you can make. We are firm believers that love at first sight is deeper with one of our LASIK alternative procedures.

Take our two minute vision quiz today to see if you qualify.