Saturday, December 5, 2009

Weekly¹ Twin-study Blogging

A major landmark in the twin-study tradition was 1795, when noted perceptual psychologist Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes began his research. Specifically, he paid one twin of each pair to take her clothes off and allowed the other to stay dressed, then recorded their reactions.

On average, the bare member of each pair tended to score higher on the Wols Pertness Scale, which ranges from 0 (failed souflée) to 10 (you could put someone's eye out with that). In addition, they exhibited more of "shivering", "asking for clothes back", and "this place is like an ice-box, it might as well be Eastern Europe" (these are all technical terms). There is nothing remarkable about any of these, but that hardly matters since the real point of the exercise was to demonstrate what you can get away with when you don't have a sticky-beak Ethics Committee arsing around and getting in your hair the whole time.

The breakthrough occurred in 1797 when Goya recruited the Maja twins. In a lapse from his usual protocol of placing both twins in identical conditions (apart from the "stripping naked" business) to remove all confounding factors, he recorded one of the pair (Vestida) in the company of his well-proportioned assistant Asensio "Lovehammer" Juli² and the other (Desnuda) on his own, after Juli was called away unexpectedly to his other career as the male lead in pornographic tapestries. Comparing his laboratory records afterwards, Goya realised that Vestida had significantly larger pupils.

This was the beginning of a fruitful line of research into pupil dilation in social interaction as a signal of interest, sympathy, and sexual receptiveness. Some people think that her enlarged pupils make Vestida look hawter than Desnuda, outweighing the latter's greater display of skin, but let's face it, comparisons of this sort are really an excuse to hang out in the Prado looking at paintings.

All this, of course, is why a model's pupils are often retouched to make her pupils larger when her image is used to promote some product. Though I am shocked, shocked! to find that general hotness and inferred availability of the model are not always directly related to the functionality of the product.

Evidently market-research people know what appeals to New Zealand sheep farmers. Let's just say that you should look up "tupping" before accepting a farmer's invitation to a tupperware party.

I was going to link to some of this research, but when I googled for "sexy larger pupils", the search results were dominated by the strangest secondary-school-education sites I've ever seen. I can only hope that they have not triggered some alert at the national intertuba-monitoring authorities. Hang about, there's someone at the door, be right back.

¹ May not correspond to calendrical weeks, since here at Riddled we use Centaurian time, standard 37 hour day.

² Self-portrait here.


Substance McGravitas said...

I thought pupils getting larger could be blamed on sugary drinks.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...


In any case, I tried S.C.'s search.

Another Kiwi said...

Hmmm one has to question the motives behind the design of Giardia Intestinalis seen here
The enlaged pupils do not seem to add any allure to the organism and, frankly, the addition to the creature of TWO smiles is unsettling at best.

Smut Clyde said...

the design of Giardia Intestinalis

Shirley some mistake. That is not an intestinal parasite. That is an original artwork by Miro.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

So, does this mean that my optometrist thought that I was coming on to him?

Smut Clyde said...

If he couldn't be sure, perhaps he should wear glasses.

Another Kiwi said...

Hubba hubba glasses.

stibbert said...

where in Renaissance-era Europe, the womens would use belladonna-extract eyedrops as a cosmetic, blowing their pupils out to improbable diameters (and w/ much sexy eyelash-fluttering), with which to ensnare ughsuspecting young male blades into matrimonys. Imagine his surprise & disappointment on the morning after to find his beloved's pupils are mere pin-points, wow, falso in advertismus.

otoh, the bimbo couldn't see shit w/ her pupils dilated like that, so she's likely to wake up to a bit of a surprise, as well, also.

Another Kiwi said...

Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes School of painting: It's the size of our pupils that makes the difference.
enroll today!!!

fish said...

It isn't sugary drinks, it is Japanese robot cartoons.