Eye Contact

A person’s face, especially their eyes, creates the most obvious and immediate cues that lead to the formation of impressions. This article discusses eyes and facial expressions and the effect they have on interpersonal communication.A person’s eyes reveal much about how they are feeling, or what they are thinking. Blink rate can reveal how nervous or at ease a person may be. Research by Boston College professor Joe Tecce suggests that stress levels are revealed by blink rates. He supports his data with statistics on the relation between the blink rates of presidential candidates and their success in their races. Tecce claims that the faster blinker in the presidential debates has lost every election since 1980.

Though Tecce’s data is interesting, it is important to recognize that non-verbal communication is multi-channeled, and focusing on only one aspect is reckless. Nervousness can also be measured by examining each candidates’ perspiration, eye contact and stiffness.

Eye contact is another major aspect of facial communication. Some have hypothesized that this is due to infancy, as humans are one of the few mammals who maintain regular eye contact with their mother while nursing. Eye contact serves a variety of purposes. It regulates conversations, shows interest or involvement, and establishes a connection with others.

Eye contact regulates conversational turn taking, communicates involvement and interest, manifests warmth, and establishes connections with others…  it can command attention, be flirtatious, or seem cold and intimidating…   invites conversation. Lack of eye contact is usually perceived to be rude or inattentive.But different cultures have different rules for eye contact. Certain Asian cultures can perceive direct eye contact as a way to signal competitiveness, which in many situations may prove to be inappropriate. Others lower their eyes to signal respect, and similarly eye contact is avoided in Nigeria, and between men and women in Islam; however, in western cultures this could be misinterpreted as lacking self-confidence.

Even beyond the idea of eye contact, eyes communicate more data than a person even consciously expresses. Pupil dilation is a significant cue to a level of excitement, pleasure, or attraction. Dilated pupils indicate greater affection or attraction, while constricted pupils send a colder signal.n

Learn now how to spot a lay with Micro Expressions