The Blue-Eyes Stereotype: Do Eye Color, Pupil Diameter, and Scleral Color Affect Attractiveness?

Abstract

Background

Blue eyes have been the embodiment of attractiveness not only for decades but even for centuries. The primary aim of this study was to determine whether iridal color, particularly color blue, can increase the attractiveness of a person’s eye area. As a secondary aim, the study examined the impact of pupil diameter and scleral color on the attractiveness of the eye area.

Methods

The stimulus material comprised images of the eye areas of 60 women ages 15–65 years. A total of 80 participants rated the attractiveness of each eye area on a 7-point Likert scale and estimated the age of the person. The color values of the iris and sclera were measured. As an additional subsample, 50% of the participants were asked what features of each eye area they found particularly appealing.

Results

Most surprisingly, no correlation was found between iridal color and rated attractiveness. However, the participants mentioned the color blue more often as a positive aspect than other iridal colors. A high inverse correlation was observed between attractiveness of the eye area and age. The larger the pupil diameter and the whiter the scleral color, the lower was the real and perceived age and the higher was the attractiveness.

Conclusion

The data showed that the “blue-eyes stereotype” does exist. People consider blue eyes attractive, but in reality, blue is rated as attractive as other iridal colors. Bright scleral color and large pupils positively affect attractiveness because both features are significantly correlated with youthfulness.

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Conflict of interest

There is no conflict of interest for any of the authors. No financial support or benefits have been received by the authors of the present study. No commercial association or financial disclosure exists.

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Correspondence to Lukas Prantl.

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Gründl, M., Knoll, S., Eisenmann-Klein, M. et al. The Blue-Eyes Stereotype: Do Eye Color, Pupil Diameter, and Scleral Color Affect Attractiveness?. Aesth Plast Surg 36, 234–240 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00266-011-9793-x

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Keywords

  • Attractiveness
  • Eye color
  • Perceived age
  • Pupil diameter
  • Scleral color