Most people to not realize the impact simple eye contact has on a personal interaction. Eye contact can build a connection between people or imply aggressiveness or confrontation. Even brief eye contact can imply feelings of connection or aggression. Further, a person’s personality may impact how a person reacts to eye contact. In today’s world of cell phones and computers, a brief moment of eye contact may be more meaningful now than it ever has been before.
- Eye contact can be a friendly social signal.
- While eye contact may be a sign of connection or trust in friendly situations, it’s more likely to be associated with dominance or intimidation in adversarial situations.
- In people who scored high in a test of Neuroticism, a personality dimension associated with self-consciousness and anxiety, eye contact triggered more activity associated with avoidance.
“In her book, Alone Together: Why we Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other, she attributes a 40% decline in empathy among college students after 1990 in part to cell-phone screens substituting for face-to-face conversation.”