Let Me Look Into Your Eyes!
“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.
Eye contact is fascinating, at Courageous Success we explore its power in conversations, intuition, gauging your own levels of self confidence and especially in how powerful, warm eye contact shows people that you like them.
We find that people reduce eye contact when talking about something shameful or embarrassing – because they feel uncomfortable – when they are sad or depressed – because they feel uncomfortable – and when they are feeling exposed and vulnerable – because they feel uncomfortable. Pattern emerging?
Yes we also look away for other reasons, reflection, creativity, excitement. But our fundamental finding is that for many, looking into the eyes of another makes them feel self-conscious. Use it as a gauge – see if you can do it – especially without an agenda. The learning? Once again, our interactions reduce because we make things about us and lack self confidence.
As I’ve hinted at above, eye contact with warmth is a powerful way of connecting with others. What makes it powerful? If you show that you like someone by smiling into their eyes through yours they trust you – try it, notice when others do it to you.
but it needs to be meant – fake it and others will know.
Forbes shares that in research presented in May 2015 at the Vision Sciences Society conference, psychologist Alan Johnston and his colleagues at University College London shared their study of 400 volunteers, where subjects indicated their comfort level while watching video clips of actors who appeared to be looking directly at them for varying lengths of time.
Johnston and his colleagues found that, on average, the subjects liked the actors to make eye contact with them for 3.2 seconds, but the subjects were comfortable with a longer duration if they felt the actors looked trustworthy as opposed to threatening. “Gaze conveys that you are an object of interest, and interest is linked to intention,” Johnston explains—so if someone appears threatening and holds your gaze, that could indicate that the person has bad intentions.
More science? Suzanne Dikker, a researcher in Neuroscience at NYU, studies brain activity when people connect by making eye contact. She uses ‘Science+art’ installations to illustrate it, including ‘Measuring the Magic of Mutual Gaze’. In this installation, the participants wear EEG headsets to measure brain activity. Whenever there is a moment of perfect brainwave between the two people, a connective lightning bolt—originating from the direct brain area that is being charged with electrical brain activity at that moment in each person—flashes onto a large screen showing the two brains.
Warm eye contact says likable, it’s not embarrassing and it’s not about romance! It’s about letting go of you and connecting with realness with another. Try it, it works.