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Why meeting another's gaze is so powerful

Your eyes convey a message

  • Faces with more dilated pupils are perceived as more attractive.
  • Narrowing eyes can signal disgust.
  • The dark circles that surround your irises, the limbal rings, are more often visible in younger, healthier people, and onlookers know this on some level.

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Why meeting another's gaze is so powerful

Why meeting another's gaze is so powerful

https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20190108-why-meeting-anothers-gaze-is-so-powerful

bbc.com

4

Key Ideas

Eye contact is natural

Eye contact is a natural part of most casual conversations. From everyday experiences, we know that we make assumptions about people's personalities based on how much they make eye contact. We can also feel left out if people don't make eye contact.

Gazing eyes command our attention

Meeting the direct gaze interferes with our ability to hold and use information in our minds over a short time. It also interferes with our imagination and mental control.

We generally perceive people who make more eye contact as more intelligent, conscientious and sincere. We are more inclined to trust them.

Too much eye contact

We can feel uncomfortable when people make too much eye contact.

Psychologists concluded that three seconds is the preferred length of eye contact. Gazes longer than nine seconds may come across as creepy.

Your eyes convey a message

  • Faces with more dilated pupils are perceived as more attractive.
  • Narrowing eyes can signal disgust.
  • The dark circles that surround your irises, the limbal rings, are more often visible in younger, healthier people, and onlookers know this on some level.

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Eye signals

  • Eye gaze: Directly eye contact indicates interest and paying attention. Prolonged eye contact can feel threatening.
  • Blinking:  People often blink more rapidly when t...

Lip signals

  • Pursed lips: an indicator of distaste, disapproval, or distrust.
  • Lip biting: signals people are worried, anxious, or stressed.
  • Covering the mouth: used when people want to hide an emotional reaction.
  • Turned up or down: When the mouth is slightly turned up, it might mean that the person is feeling happy or optimistic. A slightly down-turned mouth can be an indicator of sadness/ disapproval.

Gestures

  • A clenched fist indicates anger in some situations or solidarity in others.
  • A thumbs up and thumbs down: gestures of approval and disapproval.
  • The "okay" gesture: "okay" or "all right." In some parts of Europe, the same signal is used to imply you are nothing. In some South American countries, the symbol is actually a vulgar gesture.
  • The V sign: peace or victory in some countries. In the UK and Australia, the symbol takes on an offensive meaning when the back of the hand is facing outward.

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Smile ≠ happy

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Those who smile often are thought of as more likeable, competent, approachable, friendly and attractive.

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Duchenne smile

Duchenne was interested in the mechanics of facial expressions, including how the muscles of the face contract to produce a smile.

The Duchenne‘ smile is long and intense, though it involves the contraction of just two muscles. First the zygomatic major, which resides in the cheek, tugs at the corners of the mouth, then the orbicularis oculi, which surrounds the eye, pulls up the cheeks, leading to the characteristic ‘twinkling eyes’.

Fear smile

“When bonobo chimpanzees are afraid they’ll expose their teeth and draw their lips back so that their gums are exposed,” says Zanna Clay, a primatologist at the University of Birmingham.

In babies, a broad grin can either mean they’re happy or distressed and studies have shown that men tend to smile more around those considered to be higher status.

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