Study shows eye contact is not needed for enjoyable conversation


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/02/05/study-shows-eye-contact-is-not.html


#2

Did they study the effect of a speaker turning his head away from the listener every time they made eye contact? We had a manager who did that and it made him seem shifty. (Didn’t help when announced pay raises failed to materialize.)


#3

Well, that’s totally ‘conclusive,’ then.


#4


#5


#6

Lots of people, men in particular, can have a perfectly fruitful conversation while siting side-by-side, focused on a mutual task.


#7

Thank fucking christ. When I make sustained eye contact it’s like I can’t even hear the person, my brain is freaking out so hard about trying to make “appropriate”, constantly microshifting facial expressions, trying to perform “listening” with my face. It’s like trying to appreciate perfume and tapdance at the same time. I can’t do it.

I used to have to warn my voice students that I would occasionally do that so I could hear them better. Looking at them could take up valuable bandwidth while I was trying to listen 100%.


#8

What if you repeatedly use the phrase “you sure do got a purdy mouth” while staring at their mouth? Would that conversation be as enjoyable?


#9

There used to be this thing we did called talking on the phone…


#10

So I still have to look them in the eye half the time? Yeah, that’s not happening. As soon as I make eye contact, my inner state goes from I’m Listening or I’m Speaking to OHMYZOD I’M MAKING EYE CONTACT LIKE A WELL-ADJUSTED PERSON THIS IS HOW IT’S SUPPOSED TO BE


#11

An engineer joke:

How do you spot the extroverted engineer? He looks at your shoes while talking.


#12

I’ll explain this to my youngest, who lately, from time to time, likes to stick one of her eyeballs one me as a form of affection while saying “I(eye) see you.”

Well punning early can’t be bad.


#13

I’ve found that I tend to look at the person’s mouth while conversing. Probably started doing that as a kid and no one ever thought it was objectionable, as per this study, so I had no reason to stop. Why wouldn’t you look at their mouth when that’s where the words are coming from ? I always said.


#14

I remember that.

It was awful.


#15

"People believe if you aren’t willing to engage in soul-to-soul mutual eye contact then you are at best lacking in confidence, at worst, untrustworthy.

I think looking at other features is more natural and comfortable. My experience with people who must laser stare you in the eyes are they are usually A-types trying to dominate you, and more often than not they’ll be standing in your personal space as well.


#16

What rot.

Eye contact is a show of respect and mutual connection. If you can’t look someone in the eyes, get over yourself. And if your culture says it’s not required, your culture is wrong.

46 is not a sample size, and none of this looks scientific; it feels like someone trying to rationalize their failings.


#17

I have ALWAYS looked people in the mouth as I have always been a bit deaf and any form of extra info was useful for me to figure out what people were saying. I am talking to you DeclanMcManus.


#18

Well, byron, that’s a perfectly legitimate extenuating circumstance. And as long as you’re looking in the general direction of my face, I’mma be fine.

Don’t know what to tel you, sir. I have no beef with humans who HAVE to not make precise eye contact, but I do dislike humans who have no extenuating reason and DO NOT make precise eye contact.


#19

Really? “men in particular”? Do we NOT think there have been untold thousands of woman-hours spent, together, on labor that “the hunters” were too important to do, focused on their hands and their task and whiling away the hours (otherwise) enjoying one another’s company? WTF??!!


#20

I actually had zero idea that I did this until I was 12-13 or so when I was having a scream-fest with my sister and she stopped me cold by screaming at me, “Why don’t you ever look me in the eyes!” That argument was over. I was stunned, simply never conscious of this. Subsequent attempts to make more eye contact just proved to be way too distracting as it took a large effort to do so. I eventually gave up. I would suggest you rethink your position on this. There’s got to be others like me and I suspect some people are just shy.