You Lookin’ At Me?

Newsweek:

Be careful using eye contact: It can backfire. Sure, you’ve always heard that steadily meeting the gaze of the person across the table shows that you’re confident and trustworthy, and that you might even know what you’re talking about. But a newly released study suggests that locking eyes with your opponent isn’t always a good way to win an argument. On the contrary, it can convince the other person that you’re merely being obstinate. And what do you do then?

Eyeball-to-eyeball communication between humans appears to be more complicated than previously thought. The new paper, published in the journal Psychological Science, shows that eye contact between two people boosts a listener’s receptiveness only when the listener already agrees with the speaker. In adversarial situations, the nonverbal link actually intensifies the existing dispute. “Our findings show that direct eye contact makes skeptical listeners less likely to change their minds – not more, as previously believed,” says lead author Frances Chen, a professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia.

Read the whole story: Newsweek

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