Ever wondered why we close our eyes when we kiss? Or why we find it so creepy when someone doesn’t? New research into our senses of touch and sight might explain the unconscious reasoning behind our go-to smooching style.
The study in question, published last week in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, asked subjects to pay attention to a screen with flashing letters. They were then tasked with indicating whether they saw the letter X or N, as well as whether they felt a vibration sent to their left or right hand while watching for the letters.
An analysis found that participants were significantly less likely to detect the vibration when they were presented with a more difficult visual task. When their eyes weren’t so occupied, they were better able to correctly identify the vibrations.
“These results could explain why we close our eyes when we want to focus attention on another sense,” said cognitive psychologist Polly Dalton, who worked on the study. “Shutting out the visual input leaves more mental resources to focus on other aspects of our experience.”
When engaging in something pleasurable to the tactile sense – like kissing – we want to hone in on our sense of touch without distraction. Closing our eyes helps us tune out other sensory input that could divert attention from the task at hand tongue.
Which gets us wondering… could keeping your eyes open help you power through a bad kiss? Sounds like we have a follow-up study.