The limbal ring, the dark circle around iris that separates it from the (the sclera) is an unexpected measure of attractiveness.
It's completely unconscious, the way we all judge others' limbal rings. In the 20 milliseconds or so it takes to assess a person's attractiveness, you're factoring in the size and shade of the limbal rings. The bigger and blacker they are, the more attractive the eyes. People with the prettiest eyes have the most prominent limbal rings.
This, anyhow, is the upshot of a recent study by Darren Peshek and his colleagues at the Department of Cognitive Science at the University of California at Irvine. The researchers showed volunteers eighty pairs of male and female faces. Each pair of faces was identical except the eyes: one had dark limbal rings and the other had no limbal rings. The volunteers were asked to pick which face was more attractive and to indicate their degree of preference.
Men thought women with the dark limbal rings were more attractive than those without, and women thought the same of men with dark limbal rings. Men and women also judged faces of the same sex as more attractive when the limbal rings were large.
The limbal ring serves as an honest signal of youth and health which are desirable qualities, reproductively speaking. The ring fades with age and with medical problems. It's thickest from infancy through the early twenties. A thick, dark limbal ring may make us appear younger. It makes the whites of the eyes whiter. This might be why so many people think light eyes are so sexy: the limbal ring, when present, is more prominent.
Can you fake it? Oh Yes!
Long ago, Japanese schoolgirls discovered the edge a large limbal ring can give you by wearing "limbal ring" contact lenses. They make the eye look bigger and more defined.
|A Thick Limbal Ring and a huge,dilated pupil |
aperture make these "Geo Lenses" a popular way
of faking it