Wonder no more and pucker up.
A new study on vision and tactile sensory experience has found that people close their eyes while kissing to allow the brain to focus on the task at hand. Our brains find the sensory process difficult while concentrating on visual stimuli.
The study, lead by Dr. Sandra Murphy and Dr. Polly Dalton of Royal Holloway, University of London, was published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance. Their kissing findings occurred without studying people kissing.
The researchers asked participants to perform a letter search task of either low or high difficulty, as well as responding to the presence of absence of a brief vibration delivered at the same time to either the right or left hand. The sensitivity to the obvious tactile stimulus was reduced when doing the more challenging visual search task.
"It was already known that increasing the demands of a visual task could reduce noticing of visual and auditory stimuli," said Dr. Murphy. "Our research extends this finding to the sense of touch."
When kissing and engaging in other activities enjoyable to our sense of touch — such as dancing or sex — people want to focus on the touch, rather than the potentially distracting sensory experiences.
"These results could explain why we close our eyes when we want to focus attention on another sense," Dr. Dalton said. "Shutting out the visual input leaves more mental resources to focus on other aspects of our experience."
So close your eyes, pucker up, and just enjoy the experience.