The eyes are the window on the soul, as the old saying has it, and it turns out they reveal something fascinating in the presence of our soulmates (or at least our spouses).
Researchers trained infrared cameras on people’s pupils, and found that they could measure stress by the expansion of the pupil.
When people’s spouses were present, their pupils contracted quicker – showing that they could deal with stress better.
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The researchers asked 40 couples to complete challenging computer tasks, both alone and with their spouses.
Professor Wendy Birmingham said, ‘When we have a spouse next to us and with us, it really helps us navigate and get through the stress we have to deal with in life.
Study co-author Steven Luke said, ‘The neat thing is that the pupils respond within 200 milliseconds to the onset of a stressor.
‘It can immediately measure how someone responds to stress and whether having social support can change that. It’s not just a different technique, it’s a different time scale.’