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Are brown-eyed people more dominant?

“Ich schau dir in die Augen kleines”

(german: “I look into your eyes, honey”)

This is one of the most famous quotes from the german-dubbed movie Casablanca. One reason could be, that a look in someone’s eyes can be a very intimate moment and stimulate all kinds of different emotions.

Psychologists conducted a study, showing that people with brown eyes appear more dominant.[1] In their study, they took profile pictures of 40 men and women each between 19 and 26 years of age. After showing these pictures to a group of 62 people, they asked them to judge the photographs for perceived dominance and attractiveness on a scale from 1 to 10. The first conclusion was that brown-eyed people were perceived as more dominant. After that they changed the eye colour in the pictures using photo-editing software. When they repeated the experiment with another group of people, the original dominance ratings remained the same. So, although, the eye colour was a measurable factor for the perceived dominance in the first round, it suddenly wasn’t in the second round.

So is there a genetic link between iris colour and other charateristic marks in peoples faces, or is it a social link? The authors made suggestion, but it still remains unclear.

Robert Lindner

Read more:

[1] Kleisner, K., et al., Personality and Individual Differences, 49(2010), 59-64.

[2] Frost, P. Evolution and Human Behavior, 27 (2006), 85-103.

[3] Bassett, J.F., Personality and Individual Differences, 31 (2001), 535-539.