The Eyes Have It

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eyes window of the soul - photo of an eye

You’re familiar I’m sure with the old proverb about the eyes being the window of the soul.

The Bard himself (William Shakespeare) tends to get the credit – yet there’s no hard evidence to support this. In Act V of King Richard III Shakespeare did say:

‘To thee I do commend my watchful soul,
Ere I let fall the windows of mine eyes.’

No doubt some influence there. Yet this verse from Matthew 6: 22-23 might also be a contributor:

‘The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!’

Comparing those two, the Biblical verse does seem the closer to our understanding of eyes as the windows of the soul. And indeed, as with looking into a room through a window, our eyes reveal to another, lots of information about our emotional state. As this article from Psychology Today, ‘your eyes really are the window of your soul’, posits, ‘When people are sad or worried, they furrow their brow, which makes the eyes look smaller. Yet when people are cheerful, we correctly call them “bright-eyed.” That’s because people raise their eyebrows when they’re happy, making the eyes look bigger and brighter.’

Smile your Truest Smile

A true smile, called a Duchenne smile, is easy to detect. Named for the French anatomist, Guillaume Duchenne, this is the natural smile of genuine enjoyment.

To get all technical, the Duchenne smile comes from the contraction of the zygomatic major muscle and the orbicularis oculi muscle. So there!

The important thing is that we know one when we see one. As indeed we can recognise a non-Duchenne smile. You know the one – the smile doesn’t reach the eyes. Rather it stays on the lips – perhaps getting as far as the cheeks. And we all fake a smile from time to time – out of politeness. We may think we’re getting away with that fakery. But we’re not.

Star Pupil

We can turn up the corners of our mouths all we like to convince others we are smiling. Yet something beyond our control gives us away if we did but know it.

So, when your work colleague is regaling you with a lengthy account of the hole in one they got on their Saturday morning round of golf you can force a smile of course. As the Psychology Today article suggests, you can make the biggest effort to crinkle the corners of your eyes à la Duchenne. Yet, to anyone who knows what they’re looking for, your tiny pupils will reveal your lack of interest. And that’s because pupil size – considered by psychologists an honest clue to social or sexual interest – are beyond your voluntary control.

Jeepers Peepers

eyes window of the soul - eye love serum and age well serum

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