Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Reading Eyes

I frequent a couple blogs written by psychiatrists.  Hmmm.  I like their insights on behavior.  On one this past week, The Last Psychiatrist
was telling us why autistic children do poorly on the Eyes test.  They're shown a series of pictures only of eyes and are asked what is this person thinking or feeling.  Autistics can't seem to empathize or read more about the person from the eyes.  But everyone else can or something.

So I looked at the eyes and was completely stumped.  That it looked like an advertisement for starters was something I couldn't get past.  I couldn't tell if she was selling mascara or a car or perhaps herself (porn).  I had no idea what this woman could possibly be thinking.

"I think she wants me."  Wrong.

The test is 36 pictures of eyes like the one above.  The woman's eyes, above, have choices:
a) decisive
b) amused
c) aghast
d) bored 

HUH?  None of those have to do with eye makeup or selling anything.  Aghast?  How can you see that??  Her eyebrows would go up, no?  They've been plucked and shaped within an inch of their lives but I don't see up there.  I did not go on to take the test.  I don't like tests anyway, they give you an opportunity to fail according to someone else's narrow standards.  That is a trap.

You can take the test here if you'd like.

(Yes the English psychologist who created the study, Simon Baron-Cohen is the cousin of the comic Sacha Baron-Cohen.)

To me this is pretty much a picture like ones we see every damn day where the woman stares blankly into the camera and that's supposed to be sexy.   It's more tabula rasa than anything, it says more about us than her.  We want a blank slate, we want to be able to project (that's something psychiatrists should know a little something about) our desires onto her.  When TLP said above in the caption "she wants me.  Wrong" I think he's wrong.
That's what men want her to be thinking.  What women want her to be thinking?  Could be anywhere from "I found a great new product that ends waxy build-up on your kitchen floors" to "If you want to please your man in bed, here's Cosmo's list of 10 sure-fire ways".

The takeaway of this post is as a culture we're not reading people nor are we able to.  It's a facility we're losing supplanted by texting and tweeting and whatever else we do to distract us from human interaction.  

We appear to be growing more shallow.  Is what's at the heart of us dying or is it still there waiting to be brought forth?  I don't know.  I can't read it in the eyes.

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