Eli5 Why are fully open eyes so unsettling?


I have never really noticed it but why are fully open eyes so creepy Momo, rei in Evangelion, the girl in the opening of live and let die and I’m sure there are many more examples. I understand most fears are primal so why are they so creepy?

In: Other

It’s disturbing on a biological level because humans only open their eyes fully in moments of great fear or wonder and fear is way more common than wonder. It’s a bit of facial body language that says “I’m fucking terrified and maybe you should be too.” During times when they feel threatened humans open up their eyes wide to scan their surroundings for possible routes of escape or anything else that might help them against whatever it is they’re fearing at that moment. Fear is very contagious in most species including humans so seeing another human in this state even in a video or picture can trigger a panic response at some level.

When you experience a life threatening situation your body is flooded with chemicals like adrenaline. Those chemicals prepare you to fight or flee. They cause your body to react in a bunch of ways. One is to make your eyes open wide.

When you see someone with very wide open eyes your brain recognizes on an instinctual level that that person is ready for a fight or flight situation. They’re prepared for violence. It triggers your brains own adrenaline response.

If the person with wide eyes appears to be calm that leads you to further question their motives. What are they planning for? Are they unstable? It makes them appear dangerous and untrustworthy.