There are apps, television shows, websites and all sorts of ways for people to meet, hook up and date these days.

But no matter how smart the technology, there is nothing like meeting someone in person and using your senses – and particularly your eyes – to determine if there is a connection or not.

The look of love has been the subject of numerous studies – with results more or less saying the same thing: your eyes play an important role in attraction, consideration and then acceptance or rejection of a potential partner.

If you are single, consider your own reaction when meeting someone new. Do you look in their eyes, avert your gaze or look obviously towards their body? All this eye manoeuvring can expose different things about how you feel towards that person becoming a prospective mate.

Our eyes are capable of responding to 1.5 million simultaneous messages so that they’ll subconsciously spot when someone starts looking at us and start taking mental notes[1].

Evidence reveals that men and women look at each other differently – particularly when they meet for the first time.

Author of In the name of love, Dr Aaron Ben-Ze’ev said in his Psychology Today blog that women tend to look at men’s eyes, whereas men initially look at women’s bodies.

He says that eyes are important components to our physical appearance while large eyes are perceived to be more honest.

A study conducted by Dr Daniel Gill found that[2] when looking at a female face, men attached the most importance to the whole female face followed by the eyes while women rated the eyes as the most important feature on a male’s face.

To take our musing one step further, a 2014 study found that eye movements could reveal whether a person was in lust or in love[3]. According to this research, when you meet someone, if you concentrate on their face, you are seeing a potential romantic partner but if your gaze keeps falling to the body, then the attraction is more sexual.

The study’s lead author, Stephanie Cacioppo said that, “Although little is 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 towards strangers.”[4]

According to, a study out of Israel conducted by Dr Ayala Malach-Pines, found that only 11 per cent of 493 respondents said that their long-term relationship started at love at first sight with others citing the attraction growing the more they got to know the other person.

And while eyes may provide the window to the soul of love, they do provide another important mechanism, and this one is where we reject the advances.

Dr Ben-Ze’ev says that gaze aversion is typical of the situation in which we shun intimacy. He cites that in a similar way to an animal that may respond aggressively or take flight when they are stared at, humans will divert their eyes to stave off an intrusive advance.

If however, you are engaged in a great conversation with lots of eye contact, watch the eyes for signs of some stretched truths. Eyes darting around, glancing to the left, rapid blinking and lengthy eye closes are all signs that the information being imparted may not be 100 per cent correct.[5]

So it might be time to remove that app, to turn off the telly, to close down that dating website and get out and about if you want to catch someone’s eye.


[1]               Tracey Cox, the Daily Mail. “The five VERY simple tricks that will help you master the art of flirting successfully (and they all involve eye contact) “ , 29 March 2017

[2]               D Gill. Women and men integrate facial information differently in appraising the beauty of a face. Evolution and Human Behavior, Volume 38, Issue 6, Pages 756–760, 2017.

[3]               “Is that a look of love or lust? Science has the answer”. , July 18 2014.

[4]               “Eye movements reveal difference bet ween love and lust”, Jann Ingmire, July 17 2014.

[5]               “How to tell if someone is lying to you by watching their face”,, 1 February 2016


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