photo © Serg Zastavkin | Fotolia.com
Why do we close our eyes when we pray? When we cry? When we dream? Or when we kiss? Because we know that the most beautiful things in life are not seen, but felt by heart.
We instinctively shut our eyes when we are taken by an overwhelming feeling, but why exactly? Thanks to curious researchers, we now have scientifically based answers to this inquiry.
According to Professor Min from the National Institute of Education in Singapore, kissing with eyes shut can be explained in 3 reasons: to avoid sensory overload, to avoid seeing blurred, unflattering facial features of one’s kissing partner, and to put one’s partner at ease. True enough, looking at each other during the entire kissing process takes away the romance.
It’s much easier to focus on a feeling with eyes shut as opening one’s eyes can be too much sensory stimulation. It’s also the reason why prayers are often done with eyes closed. When we want to concentrate, our body’s instinct is to minimize distractions through momentarily disabling this active sensory organ.
According to a study by the University of Surrey, closing your eyes boosts memory recall. After having watched a film depicting an electrician committing crimes, each of the 178 participant was then randomly assigned whether to answer questions with their eyes closed or open, and having built up a rapport with the interviewer or not.
The shut-eyed participants answered 23% more of the questions correctly and building rapport also increased the number of correct answers. Interestingly, closing their eyes was effective regardless of whether or not rapport has been built. The participants were however more comfortable of closing their eyes while answering the questions when rapport has been built.