Remember when Carrie Bradshaw says, “One reason people still risk the possible horror of the first date is the possible magic of the first kiss,” where you close your eyes and the world slows down? There’s nothing better than that sparks-flying smooch after a romantic dinner with your boo. But have you ever wondered why we close our eyes when we kiss? In a study recently published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, psychologists from the Royal Holloway at the University of London give us the scientific answer.

women couple kissing

The study, led by psychologists Sandra Murphy and Polly Dolton, focused on vision and tactile sensory experiences (meaning touch) and concluded that people find it difficult to process touch, like kissing, while they’re focusing on visual experiences.

Participants were asked to complete a series of visual tasks of varying difficulty, like searching for letters on a screen, while a small vibration was simultaneously applied to their hands. The results found that across the board, people paid less attention to the vibration while they were focused on the visual task.

While participants never actually locked lips for the study, Dalton says that “these results could explain why we close our eyes when we want to focus attention on another sense,” i.e. why we close our eyes when we’re kissing. You’ll get the full sensory experience of the kiss when you aren’t distracted by things you see. How are you going to know if there are fireworks otherwise?

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