This Is What Happens To Your Eyes When You Fall In Love

We often associate falling in love with a rush of feelings. There's passion, devotion, exhilaration, euphoria, and sometimes even despair when you're separated from the object of your affection. But did you know that there are subtle cues in your body, and especially your face, that might alert someone that you're falling for them? Your eyes really can be the windows to your soul here, according to experts. 

A 2014 study published in Psychological Science looked at the gaze patterns of male and female university students who were asked to look at images of strangers (via University of Chicago). Their eye movements were analyzed using eye-tracking data. What they found was that when participants expressed sexual desire for the subjects they were viewing, their gaze seemed to move from the face to the body, while feelings of romantic attraction showed participants resting their gaze on a person's face.

"Although little is currently known about the science of love at first sight or how people fall in love, these patterns of response provide the first clues regarding how automatic attentional processes, such as eye gaze, may differentiate feelings of love from feelings of desire toward strangers," explained lead author Stephanie Cacioppo. Gaze patterns aren't the only giveaway when you're in love, though.

Your pupils dilate when you fall in love

You've probably seen it in cartoons and animated movies. A close-up shot of a character's pupils dilating when they saw food they liked or even got scared. It turns out that this can happen when you're in love, too. According to optometrist Dr. Masoud Nafey (via VSP Vision Care), your eyes will react in a similar fashion to when you see a tiger or your favorite burger as it does when you're falling for someone. "There's a physiological response when somebody gets overly excited. Their pupils dilate. It's called mydriasis. And that can happen if somebody is in love."

Remember the TikTok pupil test from a while ago? People were asked to film the reaction in their eyes (more specifically, their pupils) while thinking of someone they fancied. If your eyes are dilated in the video, that means you are in love with the person you were thinking about. Commenting on this trend, biological anthropologist Helen Fisher shared (via WHYY), "What's going on is that when you're thinking about somebody that you are in love with, that's triggering activity of feelings in the limbic system in the middle of the head, that's sending signals up to the hypothalamus, pumps out norepinephrine and epinephrine or adrenaline [which] controls the iris muscle of the eye, and as that becomes activated, it pulls the pupil to become larger." 

Are your eyes really the window to your soul?

Studying eyes and how they react to changes in stimuli and what they're viewing has been a topic of interest for scientists. You can tell a lot about how someone's feeling and what they're thinking by merely looking at their eyes, notes a 2017 study published in Psychological Science. Adam Anderson, professor of human development at Cornell University and study co-author, told, "The eyes are windows to the soul likely because they are first conduits for sight. Emotional expressive changes around the eye influence how we see, and in turn, this communicates to others how we think and feel."

When it comes to falling in love, your eyes do even more than dilate or shift their gaze from one place to another. Per Psychology Today, simple things like a couple gazing into one another's eyes or smiling with your eyes are physical signs that might mean someone's into you. So the next time you're in doubt if the person you're dating is falling for you or not, try and take a peek at their eyes. Just make sure that they're not also sitting in front of their favorite type of food.