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The eyes are more than just the ‘windows to the soul; they’re a powerful communication tool! Relationship expert Tamra Mercieca looks at how to use our eyes to enhance study, boost sales, and even score a date.
Eye contact is often an overlooked aspect of communication, but as Clinical Psychologist Dr. Simon Crisp explains, it can tell a lot about a person. “Introverts struggle to hold eye contact, which signals shyness, but this can be misinterpreted for rudeness or boredom. On the flipside, maintaining eye contact lets a person know you are confident and honest.”
Dancer and personal trainer Staci Haffner says making eye contact allows you to let another person in and form an intimate bond. “A mutual gaze has the power to narrow the physical gap between humans. That’s why it’s hard to lie to someone when you’re looking directly into their eyes.”
Certain situations demand different uses of the eyes. If you’re arguing, for example, it is seen as strong to hold someone’s gaze. If you are deferring to someone it is better to lower your gaze. When it comes to showing love to a special someone, staring into the pool of their eyes will portray your true feelings.
Crisp says we can read our partner’s eyes to add depth to our understanding of the spoken word. “Emotional closeness is often matched with frequent and lengthy eye contact in romantic relationships, while a lack of eye contact may unconsciously signal that one person is emotionally withdrawing.”
The one part of eye contact that we have no control over is the size of our pupils. Eckhard Hess, as the head of the Psychology Department at the University of Chicago found in 1975 that the pupil gets bigger when we’re interested in the person we’re talking to or the subject they’re talking about.
We can test this next time we’re spending time with a friend. Simply notice your friend’s pupil size when you’re talking about something interesting, then change the subject to accounting, and watch their pupils contract.
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