Can Science Explain Why We Kiss With Our Eyes Closed?


Rick and Ilsa in "Casablanca." Wills and Kate on their wedding day. The "Kissing Sailor" in Times Square on V-J Day. Iconic kisses all around. Now imagine all of those beautiful people locking lips with their eyes wide open. Intensely creepy mental images, right?

《卡萨布兰卡》里的里克和伊尔莎的亲吻;威廉王子和凯特王妃在婚礼当天的深情一吻。 抗日战争胜利日,时代广场上的"亲吻水手",还有身边各种标志性的亲吻。 现在想象一下,那些美丽的人们张大眼睛,紧紧地拥吻在一起。 真是令人毛骨悚然的画面,对吧?

There's a reason the thought of kissing with your eyes peeled immediately makes you cringe (aside from the disturbingly close view of another human's facial features). Or at least there's a possible reason, rooted in a 2016 study from Holloway University of London.

When the paper was published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, media outlets quickly extrapolated the results to the world of make-outs (because, sure, why not). Some science writers were quick to point out that the original study made no mention of kissing, but see for yourself if the findings make sense in the context of swapping spit.
当这篇论文发表在《实验心理学杂志: 人类的感知和表现》上时,媒体很快就把结果推断到了社交世界(这是必然的)。 一些科学作家很快指出,最初的研究并没有提到接吻,但是大家发现这些研究结果在交换唾液的情况下也适用。

For the study, psychologists Polly Dalton and Dr. Sandra Murphy fitted participants' hands with small devices that emitted light vibrations.


While wearing the devices, the participants were then tasked with completing both mental and visual tasks involving a letter search, and had to simultaneously report on the presence or absence of the vibrations.

The researchers found that when participants were asked to complete more demanding visual tasks, they were far less sensitive to the vibrations.

Again, the study itself wasn't intended as an investigation of kissing etiquette, but it does make sense why people eagerly adapted the results that way. 

Kissing is inherently intimate and clearly physical — for the brain to fully appreciate the intensity and sensation, the eyes would have to be shut to focus all the attention on the very visceral experience.
 As Dalton told The Independent, "These results could explain why we close our eyes when we want to focus attention on another sense. Shutting out the visual input leaves more mental resources to focus on other aspects of our experience."
道尔顿在《独立报》上说 ,"这些结果可以解释为什么当我们想把注意力集中在另一种感官上时,我们会闭上眼睛。 关闭视觉输入会留下更多的精神资源来关注我们体验的其它方面。"

Of course, she was more likely referencing drivers' inability to perceive a vehicle's tactile drifting lane alerts when engaged in demanding visual tasks, but ... that's kind of romantic in its own way, isn't it?

当然,她更可能是指司机在执行视觉任务时无法感知车辆的触觉漂移车道警报,但是... ... 这本身就是一种浪漫,不是吗?