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Eye Colour and Personality

by Medindia Content Team on November 20, 2007 at 5:30 PM

Eye Colour and Personality
How far- reaching is the saying, 'Eyes are the windows to the soul'?

For years, psychologists have described many behavioural aspects of a person based on eye reactions. For instance, if your teenage son does not look you in the eye while answering a question, he is probably not being entirely honest. 'Anger flashed in her eyes' is a statement we have all heard which is used to describe an angry person. So, eyes are 'reflectors' of our emotions. In that sense they are certainly 'windows' through which others can 'see' us. But there is more!
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That the eyes, especially the iris, is a pin pointer to an individuals' health status is the basis of a separate branch of study called Iridology. To iridologists then, the eyes are 'windows' to a persons' health. Iridologists study the iris, pupil and sclera paying particular attention to the color and markings in these parts of the eye. They then compare the results to an iris chart, which divides the iris into various zones that correspond with different parts of the body. The diagnosis is based on any discrepancy that the comparison may reveal.

Yet another 'window' approach declares that the color of a persons' eye is an indicator of ones' personality and ability.

All Eyes
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The color of ones' eyes reflects individuality- it depends entirely on the genetic make-up of the individual! The amount and type of color pigment in the iris defines eye color. In humans, phenotypically, eye color falls into one of these basic categories -brown, blue or green. Brown eyes are the most common (due to their dominant nature), followed by blue and then green. Other eye colors are variants that occur due to different ratios of color pigments present in the iris. Consequently, apart from the above- mentioned three colors, we also see people who have black eyes (Native Americans and Asians), hazel, gray, green and violet eyes ( Europeans and their descendants),.

Through the years, these marvelous eye colors have been indicated to reflect many a personality trait. Accordingly, brown eyes symbolize sharpness, blue eye, sweetness and green eyes, mischievousness! The possible relationship between eye color and personality prompted scientists and researchers to probe deep into the connection. Various observations and studies have revealed interesting pointers. For instance, dark -eyed people seem to score more in areas of social skills, emotions and neurotic behaviour than light-eyed people.

Blue Versus Brown

According to a study on the relationship of eye color to athletic abilities thirty years ago, brown- eyed people fared better at fast paced sports events that involved split second timing like base ball, while blue-eyed people did better at slow paced sports like golf. Other studies too claim that brown-eyed people or those with dark colored iris react faster, due to quicker reflexes, as compared to light-eyed people.

Yet another study (done some years ago) found that dark eyed subjects are more responsive to arousing visual and auditory stimuli than light-eyed subjects.

Recent news reports that blue-eyed folks are better 'strategy thinkers' than dark eyed people. That is probably why they are good at sports like golf or other activities that require planning and time structuring. The study by American scientists also suggests a possible link (based on observation and not scientific evidence at the moment) between eye color and academic achievement. Come to think of it, Marie Curie who had blue eyes received the Nobel Prize twice! Interestingly, studies on the cognitive abilities of blue -eyed persons in comparison to brown -eyed people have been conducted as early as 1965!

A 1998 study by Coplan and his colleagues have unearthed a link between inhibitions/social wariness and eye color in young children, more specifically, pre-schoolers. It found that blue -eyed male children were more socially wary than brown-eyed ones. No such significant variation was observed among female children. The study shows that in young children, iris pigmentation could probably serve as a marker variable for social wariness.

Eyeing The Issue Scientifically

Most recent research suggests that a gene Pax6 probably has a part to play in the connection between iris pigmentation and personality. This gene is involved in the development of the eyes as well as a part of the brain, more precisely the anterior cingulate cortex, or ACC, in the frontal lobe. ACC, also termed the brain's 'oops centre' by some, is believed to influence personality traits like empathy and self-control.

Pax6 is known to induce tissue deficiencies in the iris and the ACC. Could this then explain the relationship between eye color and personality? A study by Larsson M and his colleagues in 2007 (May, 2007) suggest that this maybe just so. Changes induced by Pax6 leads to different iris configurations, which, in turn may influence certain 'approach related' behaviour. The researchers studied three iris characteristics in 428 undergraduate students viz. crypts, pigment dots and contraction furrows. The findings revealed that crypts and furrows do indeed, have a close association with many approach- related behaviour. Whereas the former is associated with positive feelings, the latter is associated with behaviour like impulsiveness.

Currently, research in this field is limited. The possible relationship between eye color and personality has opened up many avenues that can be explored. Undisputed scientific evidence could pave the way for interesting revelations. What an eye-opener that would be for all of us, indeed!

Source: Medindia
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