Navigation Links
Making eye contact doesn't always help your cause

New research shows that making eye contact, long considered an effective way of bringing someone to your point of view, may actually make people more resistant to persuasion, especially when they already disagree.

"There is a lot of cultural lore about the power of eye contact as an influence tool," says University of British Columbia Prof. Frances Chen, who conducted the research at the University of Freiburg in Germany. "But our findings show that direct eye contact makes skeptical listeners less likely to change their minds, not more, as previously believed."

Chen and colleagues took advantage of recently developed eye-tracking technology to investigate the effects of eye contact in situations involving persuasion. The findings are published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

A series of experiments found that the more participants watched a speaker's eyes, the less persuaded they were by the argument of the person speaking that is, participants' attitudes on various controversial issues shifted less as they watched the speaker's eyes.

Spending more time looking at someone's eyes as they spoke was only associated with greater receptiveness among participants who already agreed with the speaker on that issue. In one experiment, participants were more likely to find speakers convincing when they focused on their mouths rather than their eyes.

According to the authors, the findings highlight that eye contact can signal very different kinds of messages depending on the situation. While eye contact may be a sign of connection or trust in friendly situations, it plays an important role in the competitive or hostile encounters in primates and other mammal species.


The researchers plan to explore whether eye contact may be associated with certain patterns of brain activity, the release of stress hormones, and increases in heart rate during persuasion attempts.

Study authors are Frances Chen (UBC Dept. of Psychology), Julia Minson (Harvard University), and Maren Schne and Markus Heinrichs (University of Freiburg).

"Whether you're a politician or a parent, it might be helpful to remember that trying to maintain eye contact may backfire if you're trying to convince someone who has a different set of beliefs than you," says co-author Julia Minson of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.


Contact: Basil Waugh
University of British Columbia

Related biology news :

1. Making a common cosmetic and sunblock ingredient safer
2. Scientists discover cosmic factory for making building blocks of life
3. New cell component important to tea and wine-making
4. Not the end of the world: Why Earths greatest mass extinction was the making of modern mammals
5. Making the brain take notice of faces in autism
6. Geoscientists unearth mineral-making secrets potentially useful for new technologies
7. New study reveals important role of insulin in making breast milk
8. New catalyst could cut cost of making hydrogen fuel
9. Making hydrogenation greener
10. Women reject sexually promiscuous peers when making female friends
11. Elevated carbon dioxide making arid regions greener
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/15/2016)... June 15, 2016 Transparency ... titled "Gesture Recognition Market by Application Market - Global Industry Analysis ... 2024". According to the report, the  global gesture recognition ... 2015 and is estimated to grow at a ... by 2024.  Increasing application of gesture ...
(Date:6/3/2016)... Das DOTM (Department ... hat ein 44 Millionen $-Projekt ... einschließlich Personalisierung, Registrierung und IT-Infrastruktur, an Decatur ... Implementierung von Identitätsmanagementlösungen. Zahlreiche renommierte internationale Anbieter ... aber Decatur wurde als konformste und innovativste ...
(Date:6/1/2016)... 2016 Favorable Government Initiatives Coupled ... Criminal Identification to Boost Global Biometrics System Market Through ... Research report, " Global Biometrics Market By Type, ... Opportunities, 2011 - 2021", the global biometrics market is ... account of growing security concerns across various end use ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... --  Ginkgo Bioworks , a leading organism design ... awarded as one of the World Economic Forum,s ... innovative companies. Ginkgo Bioworks is engineering biology to ... in the nutrition, health and consumer goods sectors. ... including Fortune 500 companies to design microbes for ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... release of its second eBook, “Clinical Trials Patient Recruitment and Retention Tips.” Partnering ... retention in this eBook by providing practical tips, tools, and strategies for clinical ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016 Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital has ... Association to serve as their official health care ... Willowbrook will provide sponsorship support, athletic training services, ... coaches, volunteers, athletes and families. "We ... Association and to bring Houston Methodist quality services ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... ... Supplyframe, the Industry Network for electronics hardware design and ... in Pasadena, Calif., the Design Lab’s mission is to bring together inventors and ... brought to market. , The Design Lab is Supplyframe’s physical representation of one ...
Breaking Biology Technology: