Researchers explore how pupil size affects attractiveness

Scientists have found that a smaller pupil – making the iris appear larger – is perceived as more attractive

green brown eye
Pixabay/Bruno Henrique

New research from City, University of London, University of Amsterdam and University of California has explored the effect of pupil size on attractiveness.

The study, which was published in Cognition, involved 3000 participants who were shown head shots and images of blue or brown eyes from males and females 

The images were edited so that one version showed eyes with constricted pupils and another version showed eyes with dilated pupils. Participants were asked to rate how attractive each person pictured was.

The study found that participants rated the images with smaller pupils and larger irises as the most attractive.

Professor Zachary Estes, of Bayes (formerly Cass) Business School at City, University of London, highlighted that for more than half a century, research has failed to identify whether people are perceived as more attractive with smaller or larger pupils.

“Our research reveals that constricted pupils enhance physical attractiveness by making the eyes appear brighter,” he said.