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Communications.Management.Marketing

Truth Is Just Perception

Don’t Look Your Listener In The Eye

Contrary to popular belief, making eye contact doesn’t help your cause.

A study published in Psychological Science shows that eye contact antagonizes your listener rather than convincing them, all the more if they disagree with you.

This research, conducted at the University of Freiburg (Germany), used technologies that track eye movements. Volunteers were shown a video with a speaker explaining a point of view. Participants who spent more time looking at the person in the eye when viewing the video were less convinced. Eye contact was convincing only for these volunteers who already agreed with the speaker before watching the video.

(CC) Tambako The Jaguar

(CC) Tambako The Jaguar

Then, the participants were separated in two groups. The volunteers who were asked to look at the speaker’s eyes changed their opinion less than those who were asked to look at his mouth. The first ones were less receptive to his reasoning, more likely to listen to opposite views and therefore more difficult to convince.

According to one of the heads of the research, this study highlights that eye contact is considered a sign of domination or intimidation during exchanges with people who are not our intimate friends.

It is an important lesson for any manager.

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