We’ve all heard the saying, ‘eyes are the window to the soul’. Copious studies conducted on the matter allude to the possibility there is more to this than meets the eye.
Fifty years ago when a paper on eye contact was published by a PhD professor, it was deemed irrelevant with no scientific interest whatsoever.
However in this day and age where every personality trait of an individual is poked, probed, tested and analysed with fine tooth and comb, understanding the various facets of eye contact has certainly made it to the top of psychological food chain.
Lets face it folks, it does come in handy while deducing thoughts or behavioural patterns.
Eye contact helps you read a person. Determine their thoughts, feelings. If they’re interested in a conversation or if they’re merely begging for the pain to stop.
A study published in the Journal Of Participatory Medicine states eye contact helps build trust between individuals. You tend to trust a person who’ll look you in the eye, as opposed to individuals who dart their eyes and refuse to align their pupils with yours.
Doesn’t mean individuals who do not make eye contact are any less trustworthy. In certain situations the gaze is prone to wander while thinking and having a crucial tete-a-tete. Research shows that it’s distracting to maintain eye contact when trying to, say, think of ways to defuse a bomb or just solve a conundrum.
A recent experiment conducted in Japan proved that eye contact exhausts the same neurones used to perform complex tasks. In the experiment, participants were asked to perform tasks while maintaining eye contact with another person. Sometimes they were successful at the task and sometimes their eyes looked to the side.
The experiment proved constant eye contact makes it harder to perform difficult tasks at hand. But we remain resolute in maintaining contact because research also shows that the lack of contact is a side effect of feeble confidence.
It might hold true for some cases but not all according to Aaisha Sabir, a former psych major who never quits analysing this writer. Aaisha vehemently disregards the notion, confidence and eye contact are two sides of the same proverbial coin.
She insists it’s not all cut and dry as the theory seems to suggest. She recalls an instance where she was acquainted with an individual who with all his might avoided eye contact like the biblical plague. If she didn’t know him better she’d chalk it up to lack of confidence.
According to her, he had confidence in spades. If he were a superhero, his superpower would be a mother load of confidence that could probably set an entire city ablaze with its sheer intensity.
There are different shades to neurosis. It’s not a matter of just black and white. More often than not you avail the services of your eyes to communicate. To feign interest, disinterest, to welcome, to dismiss. It’s quite easy to convolute the signals.
The science of eye contact is wrought with many a theory. It’s a herculean task to discern the patterns unless you’re in a possession of a PhD or just really good friends with Dr Phil. However never mistake wavering eye contact for lack of confidence. It’s perfectly human to take a breather from a staring match, to ponder and assume your position. Doesn’t mean you’re any less confident or you’d risk offending the sensibilities of the individual next to you. It’s upto you how you want to play the game. It’s your eye, your prerogative, your tool — wield it as you may see fit.
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