Why do we tend to close our eyes when we passionately kiss someone we love?

Have you ever wondered why the moment our lips part for a kiss, the eyes tend to close? Evidently, the two acts are closely related to each other. But why really do we close our eyes when we kiss?

Why we close our eyes when we kiss

In the past, it used to be thought that people closed their eyes when they kiss someone they love because their vision could not focus on something as close up as the other person’s face.

But scientists have now found a new interesting theory. It has been discovered that the brain is unable to cope with the combination of the visual data and the tactile sensation of kissing.

Psychologists at Royal Holloway University in London demonstrated that completing a demanding visual task reduces people’s ability to comprehend touch.

Why do we close our eyes when we kiss?

It could explain why you can fail to notice your phone vibrating while looking for a friend’s face in a crowd, and has more serious consequences for tactile warning systems for drivers or pilots.

Tactile alerts being introduced in modern cars to warn drivers when they drift out of their lane could be missed, because the motorist’s brain is overwhelmed by the visual task at hand.

The study, which did not actually involve people kissing, suggests that in order to focus on such a tactile sensation, people might instinctively close their eyes.
The same idea applies to other situations involving touching, like reading braille, dancing or making love.

Dr Sandra Murphy and Dr Polly Dalton asked volunteers to perform a letter search task of either low or high difficulty, as well as responding to the presence or absence of a brief vibration delivered simultaneously to either the left or the right hand.

They found that sensitivity to the tactile stimulus was reduced when they carried out the more taxing visual search task.

Dr Sandra Murphy said: “It was already known that increasing the demands of a visual task could reduce noticing of visual and auditory stimuli.

“Our research extends this finding to the sense of touch. This is particularly important given the growing use of tactile information in warning systems.

“For example, some cars now provide tactile alerts when they begin drifting across lanes – our research suggests that drivers will be less likely to notice these alerts when engaging in demanding visual tasks such as searching for directions at a busy junction.”

The research is published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance.

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