Clue; it’s not because we’re trying not to give awkward stares.
Clue; it’s not because we’re trying not to give awkward stares. It has nothing to do with foot-popping or seeing fireworks either. Nope, according to a new psychological study, the reason that we close our eyes when we kiss is so that we can concentrate on the sense of touch.
We want to feel the kiss, not taste it, and certainly not see it staring back at us from the bright, awkward whites of our lover’s eyes.
According to the research, conducted by Royal Holloway, University of London and published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, we can never quite process our other senses so well when we’re concentrating on using our visual sense.
The brain gets distracted, if stimulated by something visual and just won’t process the feel of said kiss in quite the same way.
‘Tactile [sense of touch] awareness depends on the level of perceptual load in a concurrent visual task,’ cognitive psychologists Polly Dalton and Sandra Murphy found.
‘These results could explain why we close our eyes when we want to focus attention on another sense.’
‘Shutting out the visual input leaves more mental resources to focus on other aspects of our experience.’
Interestingly, none of the group’s studies were conducted on real kissing couples. Participants instead completed a letter-searching task where a low vibration was applied to one of their hands at certain intervals. The experiment proved that people were less responsive to the vibration as their eyes focussed more on the visual task. So the more their eyes were engaged, the less they ‘felt’ the vibrations – hence why our instinct is to shut our peepers if we really want to feel something good.
The theory, apparently, applies to having sex and dancing, too, as we want to engage fully in all activities that are pleasurable to our sense of touch.
So now we know – a good kiss is one with feeling.