Canadian Short Track Speed Skater Charles Hamelin is seen here kissing his girlfriend and fellow skater, Marianne St-Gelais at the Sochi Winter Olympics. Hamelin has just won a Gold Medal in the 1500 Meter. While their bodies are certainly not in the optimum position for kissing or most displays of affection, one nonverbal in particular is very telling.
Forty percent of the mass of the brain is dedicated to the visual system and ninety percent of all sensory input is dedicated to sight. Hearing, touch, taste and smell - collectively account for only ten percent of incoming sensory data. When the eyes are shut, a slight redistribution of blood flow and electro-chemical activity of the brain is redirected to these other four (non-visual) senses - as well as cognitive and EMOTIONAL centers of the brain. We close our eyes during kissing, hugging and other affectionate displays because we want to drink in every last drop of emotion. As feeling creatures this is a natural and normal process when the emotion is SINCERE (most mammals do so as well). When there is a lack of sincerity - the eyes remain open - for there is no desire to amplify the sensory or emotional experience (ergo a relative state of apathy). The opposite is happening here however. In this moment Hamelin and St-Gelais are human beings in love first .... and Olympians second.
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