Eye contact in a conversation not essential for enjoyable conversation – study

Making an eye contact while a conversation is not necessary to make a conversation interesting

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Researchers from the Edith Cowan University have talked about the importance of making an eye contact while having a conversation. With the help of eye-tracking technology, it was found by the researchers that if you avoid an eye contact while taking to another person and instead stare at their mouth or another part of their face, they would still enjoy talking to you as much as if you made an eye contact.

Dr. Shane Rogers, is the lead author from the School of Arts and Humanities and said that for people who experience social anxiety when gazing specifically to another person’s eyes or when being looked at. The new finding is a welcome news. Dr. Rogers said, “Maintaining strong eye contact is widely accepted to be an important communication skill in western cultures. People believe if you aren’t willing to engage in soul-to-soul mutual eye contact then you are at best lacking in confidence, at worst, untrustworthy.”

The study author added that the reverence that is devoted to eye to eye contact is not supported by a scientific evidence. The study had involved a researcher engaged in four-minute conversations with 46 participants where both the parties had worn Tobii eye tracking glasses. The author added that for about half the conversations the researcher looked at the eyes most of the time and for the other half he gazed pre-dominantly at the mouth.

After the conversations, the participants were rated how much they had enjoyed the conversations. Dr. Rogers informed that the mouth group perceived the same amount of eye contact and enjoyed the conversations just as much as the eye group. This meant that there was no difference between gazing at the mouth or gazing at the eyes. So people are not very specific in terms of the specific gaze but perceived a direct gaze towards their face as an eye contact.

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