Monday, November 27, 2017

Body Language Analysis No. 4135: What Makes Markle's Eyes Sparkle? - The Emotional Intelligence of Twinkling Eyes (PHOTOS)

Earlier today, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced their engagement. They are to be married in the spring of 2018.

But besides Harry, what makes Markle's Eyes sparkle?

In order for a person's eyes to "Twinkle" - multiple conditions must be met. After the requirement of medically healthy eyes, by far and away the most crucial component for a "Twinkle in the Eye" - is that of a Sincere Smile.

And - the most fundamental element for a smile to be sincere - is that the eyelids must ALWAYS be partially closed. Indeed if you want to initiate a true smile, begin with your eyes - never with your mouth.

However, not all partially closed eyelids are created equal. The lower eyelids of sincere smiles will possess concave-up furrows. These are natural, healthy, and temporary changes which take place during the dynamics of a sincere smile (and should never be photo-shopped or surgically removed). Intriguingly, the eyes of mild-to-mild anger will also have partially closed eyelids - but crucially, these lower eyelids are tense and tightened with no deep furrows.

One important phenomenon occurring when the eyelids partially close - is the tear film (a very thin layer [itself made of three sub-layers]) briefly becomes thicker. This "deeper" liquid/tear layer thus increases the albedo (as well as the libido) - and momentarily increases the amount of sparkle. This phenomenon often gives rise to a second, or even a third foci of reflected light on the surface of the eye (cornea).

A smile of true joy-happiness must also be accompanied by relaxed (non-contracted) forehead muscles. Indeed, a telltale signal of some false/feigned smiles - is they are often accompanied by a partially or dramatically contracted forehead.

Teeth need not be exposed in order for a smile to be sincere. It's common for a partially suppressed smile to show none. Fascinatingly, such smiles will often more easily evoke smiles in others. When teeth are showing however - if the smile is sincere, the lower teeth will either barely be seen, or more typically - not seen at all. Exceptions to this rule do occur however - such as in the second image shown above: when the camera angle is looking down (or from the point-of-view of a taller, relatively closely positioned person). Another occasion where bottom teeth may be visualized in the context of a sincere smile is when it overlaps with sincere laughter (Sincere laughter often exposes all/most teeth, thus when crescendoing toward, or decrescendoing from an episode of sincere laughter - the lower teeth will be revealed).

When a true smile occurs - the cheek muscles pull primarily upward. From the point-of-view of the person who's smiling, this upward-pull will be felt more in the inner (medial) cheek muscles (closer to the center of face) versus with an insincere/feigned smile - which is felt more laterally (more so out toward the sides of the face). This difference in direction of the cheek movement with false smiles also gives rise to the classic - and very fake, "say cheese smile" (again insincere, exposing lower teeth - and importantly, canceling out the sincere "smiling with the eyes" component).

In the second image, Meghan Markle is shown in black and white - and, because her eyes (irises/irides) are brown, it's difficult to detect her pupil size. In the other photos, it's easy to see her pupils are either small or smaller-to-medium sized. When it comes to increasing twinkling though - larger pupils, because they provide a greater background and more dramatic color contrast - will give rise to a greater "sparkle factor".

Additionally, all things being equal, when our pupils are larger we are judged by others (who are not consciously aware of our pupil sizes) as more likable and more attractive. This is why restaurants considered more romantic will have darker lighting - because it increases pupil size. It's important to stress that sexual attraction also plays a part here - for it also increases the diameter of pupils.

Candlelight brings an additional "Twinkle Factor". The light from a candle is and always changing, millisecond to millisecond - giving rise to an extra dynamic nature to the sparkling.

The angle of the light source also influences the amount of twinkling. If the light is diffuse - or comes from behind the subject, there is essentially no reflection off of the eye. However, if the light is from a source in front of the subject (which, of course, is often the case in a photo), the twinkling is much greater. 

Subjectivity also plays a role in how much twinkling we see. Frida Kahlo famously said, "Take a lover who looks at you like maybe you are magic." If we are in love with the person - we will truly (but subjectively) "see" (perceive) more twinkling. To a lesser extent, this also influences our judgment if we find the other person attractive or simply likable. 

Summary: The "Twinkle in the Eye" we see/perceive/feel in another person is influenced by the presence of:

1. Partially closed eyelids
2. Concave-up lower eyelid furrows
3. Cheek muscles moving upward (not outward)
4. A Relaxed Forehead
5. Mouth component of "smile" must be sincere
6. Medically Healthy Eyes
7. The type of light source
8. The angle of the light source
9. Larger vs. Smaller pupils (e.g., the level of ambient light)
10. The presence or absence of sexual attraction
11. The presence or absence of affection and love

Congratulations to Ms. Meghan Markle and Prince Harry. May you both stay forever young at heart.

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See also:

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