There's truth in the eyes.
Here we go! My first blog post into the Anime series Trigun and the psychology/philosophy within. The first episode contains the introduction of the character. You see him as a fun-loving, goofy, guy. And you begin to see how destruction seems to just kind-of happen to him. If you are interested in watching it, you can score it on HULU or HERE. After the end credits, and the preview of the next episode begins, the scenes are spoken over by Vash. he says,
"There's something that cannot be expressed in words, human emotion. Emotions of the heart can't be just tucked away in a closet. There's a way to know the emotions. Look into the eyes. The girl lied to me, and I believed her. The gentleman lied to me, when I trusted him, but the moment I looked into his eyes the angel of destiny began to unravel the truth. Just look into their eyes. There is only one truth."
A bit long, sure, but for an anime show about gunslinging, this definitely hits some key psychology points.
It is known that the eyes are the window to the soul. But what do we mean by that? Well, when we are looking at people, we can tell a fake smile from a real smile in the way their eyes crinkle.
Take a look at these pictures. Which column (left or right) is the person genuinely smiling?
After a few seconds of looking it becomes clear that the column on the right is smiling genuinely while those on the left are "picture" smiling. My theory is that a genuine smile eyes squint, limiting vision, because people feel more safe when they are with people they are genuinely smiling at. If you feel safe, you are more relaxed, less on edge, and less likely to worry about a tiger coming in from left-field.
What else can the eyes tell us?
Well, for those of you that are interested in complex thought. There are plenty of studies (here's one in particular) to support eye tracking and pupil dilation as a means by which researchers can access just how hard a person's brain is working. The general idea is that people who are working harder in their mind their pupils will dilate and contract accordingly.
Why is this neat to know? Well, it speaks to "truth" again in people's eyes. If someone asks you just how hard your brain is working or if something is making you think really hard, you can lie and say "Nope, we're all good! It was easy as cake!" But it we were able to track their eyes we could see the truth. Consider the VR applications! Or consider your work monitors having the camera tracking your pupil dilation to see if you are working or slacking off!
This topic makes me wonder about how digital communication has taken away, or has displaced a lot of face to face conversing. How the conversations we have today are not as able to utilize this depth of emotional "reading" in one another. How much information could we be missing out on. If we consider that about 55% of communication is neither vocal nor verbal, we are arguably missing out on more than half of the conveyed information from person to person.
This actually segues nicely into our next podcast episode 10 and virtual presence.... how are the technologies of the day looking to recapture that lost communicative tool?