How long look him in the eye

Our view speaks for itself - of friendliness and openness about love or about the threat. Too closely can be confusing. On the other hand, if we do not look into the other person's eyes, it is perceived as impolite or uncertainty. How to find a compromise?

How long look him in the eye

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Eye contact - perhaps the most important thing at the first meeting. How much should last interlocutor view, so as not to cause us discomfort, we decided to find a British psychologist Nicola Binetti (Nicola Binetti) and his colleagues. They conducted an experiment, for participation in which invited almost 500 volunteers (aged 11 to 79 years) from 56 countries 1.

Participants showed fragments of video in which the actor or actress is viewed the viewer directly in the eye for a predetermined period of time (tenth of a second to 10 seconds). With the help of special cameras, researchers tracked pupil dilation test, after each track they are also asked if they thought the actor on the record looked them in the eye is too long or, conversely, too little. They were also asked to rate how attractive and / or threatening people appeared in the videos. In addition, participants answered a questionnaire.

Optimum visual contact duration - from 2 to 5 seconds

It has appeared that an optimal eye contact duration is from 2 to 5 seconds (average - 3, 3 seconds).

It is this view of the duration in the eye was the most comfortable for the participants. However, none of the subjects did not like it when they looked into the eyes of at least a second or more than 9 seconds. However, their preferences are not dependent on the characteristics of the individual, and almost did not depend on gender and age (there was one exception - older men often want longer look women in the eye).

The attractiveness of the actors in the video does not play a significant role. However, if an actor or actress seemed angry, they wanted to look in the eye as small as possible.

Because the study included residents of nearly 60 different countries, we can assume that these results do not depend on the culture and preferences of eye contact duration are about the same for most people.

1 N. Binetti et al. "Pupil dilation as an index of preferred mutual gaze duration", Royal Society Open Science, July 2016.