While the eyes may be the window to the soul, pupil dilation can reveal a person’s sexual orientation, finds a new Cornell study. Pupils were found to widen most when study participants watched erotic videos of people they found attractive, thereby revealing where they were on the sexual spectrum from heterosexual to homosexual.
Although there was a popular belief that sexual orientation can be revealed by pupil dilation to attractive people, there was no scientific evidence until now. For the first time, researchers at Cornell used a specialized infrared lens to measure pupillary changes to participants watching erotic videos.The findings are published Aug. 3 in the journal PloS ONE
Previous research explored these mechanisms either by simply asking people about their sexuality or by using such physiological measures as assessing their genital arousal. These methods, however, come with substantial problems.
“We wanted to find an alternative measure that would be an automatic indication of sexual orientation but without being as invasive as previous measures. Pupillary responses are exactly that,” said Gerulf Rieger, lead author and Cornell postdoctoral associate, who conducted the study with Ritch C. Savin-Williams, professor of human development and director of the Sex and Gender Lab at Cornell.
[Read more - Cornell Chronicle]