Body Language

Understanding Eye Contact in Communication

People usually make the mistake of evaluating the effect of eye contact out of the context of the situation.

For example, positive eye contact, which is usually 70-80% of the time, might show that someone is interested in you, but if that same person had some anger towards you, the more he looks towards you, the more this means that he is hostile.

Research has found that eye contact can also reflect the behavior the person expects from another one. For example, it was found that others who were expecting to be criticized by others gave less eye contact than those expecting to be praised.

In another experiment, job interviewers asked tough questions to look away more than those who were asked simple questions.

So before you can judge the effect of eye contact, you first need to consider the full context of the situation.

It was found that people give more eye contact to those who smile at them more often. Again this shows that personal goals can affect a person’s body language. If a person found a rewarding activity, such as looking to someone who smiles back at him, he will certainly do it more often without noticing.

How eye contact affects communication between people

Based on this fact, you can use eye contact to reach your social goals. For example, if you wanted to show someone interested in him, you must give him more eye contact.

If you knew for sure that someone needs approval, and most people do, then you can make more eye contact with this person so that you leave a good first impression.

If you are too shy to look at someone’s eye directly, you can look between his eyes, and he won’t notice it.

Giving more eye contact can also show that you are more in control, charismatic or dominant. In another study, it was found that people tended to avoid doing more harm to others if they looked them in the eye.

This means that the person in charge of turning on the electric chair another person is sitting on will reduce the amount of torturing if the latter looked him in the eye more often.

Lack of Eye contact and hatred

Some people mistakenly associate lack of eye contact with hatred. While it is true that people look less towards the ones they dislike still there are so many factors that could motivate a person to reduce eye contact, such as fear, shyness, and discomfort.

One of the biggest mistakes people make in communication is giving certain actions fixed meanings without looking at the whole context.

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