Psychologists and neuroscientists have been studying eye contact for decades and their research reveals much about its power—for example that we make assumptions about other people based on how much they meet our eyes or look away when we are talking to them. Dr. Christian Jarrett, editor of the British Psychological Society's Research Digest blog, curated some of the most intriguing recent findings (https://bbc.in/2sfUsWL):
Of course, too much eye contact can make people uncomfortable – and individuals who stare without letting go can be unsettling. In one study, psychologists tried to establish the preferred length of eye contact. They concluded that, on average, it is three seconds long—and no one preferred gazes that lasted longer than nine seconds (https://bit.ly/2N4usXL).
Eye contact is multi-dimensional. When we gaze into another’s eyes, we are subliminally decoding messages from their eye muscles (which reveal emotion), the dilation of their pupils, and even the limbal rings (the circles that surround the irises). “When you look another person in the eye,” says Dr. Jarred, “just think: it is perhaps the closest you will come to ‘touching brains’ – or touching souls if you like to be more poetic about these things.”
Have you ever noticed that you respond differently to people who make eye contact versus those who habitually look away? To join the conversation, click "comments" above.
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