Having This Subtle Feature Means You're More Attractive Than Everyone Else

Photo: Lucas Ottone

They say that the eyes are windows to the soul, and that eye contact is one of the most powerful communication tools we have available to us as human beings. We identify strongly with eye color and obsess over eye shape, eye brows, lashes, and laugh lines. But new research shows that the darkened ring outlining the iris, also called the limbal ring, might determine more about attractiveness and desirability than any other aesthetic aspect of our eyes. People with strong limbal rings were viewed as more attractive than people who don't.

The limbal ring is said to change with age and health. Most people have a limbal ring, but certain people have thicker, stronger ones. To find it, take a look at the outline around the colored part of your eye—the more defined it is, the "stronger" your limbal ring.

The study, published in the Personal and Social Psychology Bulletin, builds on existing research that establishes limbal rings as strong indicators of facial attractiveness. Scientists aimed to assess whether individuals with limbal rings are more desirable in short term-mating preferences than others in a series of three studies. In the first, people with limbal rings were rated as being perceived as healthier, especially for women choosing a male mate. In the second and third studies, women revealed a preference for short-term mating partners with limbal rings.

Beauty is in the eye of the one with vivacious limbals, says science.

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