Why You Don't Need To Look Everyone In The Eye
If you're trying to win a skeptic over to your side, direct and sustained eye contact can work against you, according to new research.
Kecia Lynn has worked as a technical writer, editor, software developer, arts administrator, summer camp director, and television host. A graduate of Case Western Reserve University and the Iowa Writers' Workshop, she is currently living in Iowa City and working on her first novel.
What's the Latest Development?
Using eye-tracking technology, researchers at the University of Freiburg observed test subjects as they watched videos of speakers discussing certain political issues. They found that the longer the viewers focused on the speaker's eyes, particularly if the speaker was looking directly into the camera, the less convinced they were of the argument. Those who disagreed with the speaker's argument, or who had no opinion on the topic, were left even more unconvinced than those who agreed.
What's the Big Idea?
The importance of direct eye contact in business and personal interactions has been stressed for decades. The study findings, published in Psychological Science, suggest that in some cases, it's not always a good idea. The reason may have to do with evolution: Eye contact among certain animals signals aggression and the creation of "a social dynamic characterized by resistance to persuasion." Further demonstrating this point is a separate experiment in which participants were given a choice of looking at a speaker's eyes or their mouth. Those who looked at the speaker's mouth were more persuaded by the argument.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com
Giving our solar system a "slap in the face."
- A stream of galactic debris is hurtling at us, pulling dark matter along with it
- It's traveling so quickly it's been described as a hurricane of dark matter
- Scientists are excited to set their particle detectors at the onslffaught
The climate change we're witnessing is more dramatic than we might think.
A lazy buzz phrase – 'Is this the new normal?' – has been doing the rounds as extreme climate events have been piling up over the past year. To which the riposte should be: it's worse than that – we're on the road to even more frequent, more extreme events than we saw this year.
Once again, our circadian rhythm points the way.
- Seven individuals were locked inside a windowless, internetless room for 37 days.
- While at rest, they burned 130 more calories at 5 p.m. than at 5 a.m.
- Morning time again shown not to be the best time to eat.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.