August 03, 2021

Fun psychology: Where should the eyes be placed when talking?

The eyes are the windows of the soul. When people talk, they can convey information. Regarding the vague dynamics of where the eyes should be focused when talking, it was originally a purely personal style and quite “diversified”. But in many books on social guidance, it has been further promoted to the height of etiquette, becoming an equation with only “finite solution” or even “unique solution”.

If two people talk face-to-face for 30 minutes, if the other person looks at you for less than 10 minutes, it must be “not putting you in their eyes”; if they look at you for 10 to 20 minutes, it means that the other person is friendly to you of.

When the gaze time exceeds the critical value of 20 minutes, the problem becomes more complicated, which means that the other party attaches great importance to you, but it does not rule out the possibility of “hostility”. This puts forward a high standard for the function of the biological clock in our brain, requiring precision to the minute level. If we are not careful, there is a danger of “turning friends into enemies”.

Regarding the geographical textual research on which part of the other party’s body should the eyes look at, the book carefully explained that by placing the gaze on different parts of the opponent’s body, the conversation can be framed as “official”, “attention”, and “social”. Different levels such as “type” and “intimate type”.

People can’t help but worry secretly for comrades with high astigmatism. Then I saw another suggestion that confuses me even more: A German interpersonal communication expert believes that the most correct trajectory of vision in a conversation is: first look at the other person’s eyes, and then slowly move the gaze to the mouth, after a while Then return to the eye. I just want to know if I will feel frivolous if my eyes go too far, I accidentally go over my mouth and drop my neck.



However, for many people, focusing on the limited part of the opponent’s body is not only a problem in etiquette, but also a physical obstacle. In fact, when talking face-to-face, people often fail to keep their eyes on the face of the other party with a limited area, as the etiquette experts want.

A paper published in the magazine “Memory and Cognition” in November 2005 stated that people would unconsciously look away in certain conversation situations, or “close their eyes slightly and look up at the sky”, or even ” Turn your face to the side”.

This kind of “eyes wandering obsessive-compulsive disorder” is said to have a multi-element cause. Scottish psychologist Phelps said that the behavior of “eye contact” is regarded as a sign of “intimate” relationship.

When people who are not very close psychologically fall into the inevitable face-to-face “intimate” conversation, the brain will spontaneously control your gaze to reduce the “intimacy index” of the conversation. There are also experiments that show that the more “intimate” the talker is in space, the time to look at each other will decrease, which constitutes a balance.

However, the evidence of Phelps and other researchers shows that this kind of “gaze avoidance” behavior is more derived from the interpretation of cognitive science. The reason is that the human face is full of a lot of complex information. If you stare at the other party while talking, it will occupy a certain amount of brain resources out of thin air, so that the brain will be dull.

Assuming a small change to Einstein’s question of “beauty and hot stove”, the answer may be different: it is more difficult to explain the theory of relativity with a beautiful woman, and to explain the theory of relativity with a stove.