Did you know that the perfect length of eye contact when you first meet someone is to acknowledge what color eyes they have – about 4 seconds. Eye contact is important in conversation as well as connecting with newborns. Forbes.com wrote an interesting article about the power of eye contact and listed some facts. See below:
- Eye contact produces a powerful, subconscious sense of connection that extends even to drawn or photographed eyes; a fact demonstrated by Researchers at Cornell University who manipulated the gaze of the cartoon rabbit on several Trix cereal boxes, asked a panel of adults to choose one, and discovered, as they expected, that the box most frequently chosen was the one on which the rabbit was looking directly at them, rather than away.
- We reduce eye contact when we are talking about something shameful or embarrassing, when we are sad or depressed, and when we are accessing internal thoughts or emotions.
- We increase eye contact when dealing with people we like, admire, or who have power over us. In more intense or intimate conversations we naturally look at each another more often and hold that gaze for longer periods of time. In fact, we judge relationships by the amount of eye contact exchanged: the greater the eye contact, the closer the relationship.
- Females look more at those they are talking to than do males. That’s one of the reasons women prefer a face-to-face conversation, while men are content to talk standing side-by-side.
- We avoid eye contact in elevators, subways, crowded buses or trains – in elevators we face the door, in the others we stare at our Smartphones – because it helps us manage the insecurity of having our personal space invaded. Waiters may avoid eye contact to send customers the signal, “I’m too busy to deal with you right now.” Employees often keep their eyes down when the boss appears with a tricky question or looks like he’s going to ask for volunteers.
- The biggest body language myth about liars is that they avoid eye contact. While some liars (most often, children) find it difficult to lie while looking directly at you, many liars, especial the most brazen, actually overcompensate to “prove” that they are not lying by making too much eye contact and holding it too long.
- If a speaker actively seeks out eye contact when talking, he or she is judged to be more believable, confident and competent.
Eye contact is so powerful a force because it is connected with humans’ earliest survival patterns. Children who could attract and maintain eye contact, and therefore increase attention, had the best chance of being fed and cared for. Today, newborns instinctively lock eyes with their caregivers. And the power of that infantile eye contact still retains its impact on the adult mind. Whether it’s shifty-eyed guilt or wide-eyed innocence, we automatically assign enormous credence to the signals we give and get when we look into each other in the eyes.