Eye Behavior

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Facial expression is a very important component of human communication. Of all the functions of the face, eye behavior is unquestionably the most important tool in communication. Eye behavior serves a variety of purposes. It regulates conversations, shows interest or involvement, and establishes a connection with others. Specifically, the eye gaze is one aspect of eye behavior that plays a significant role in the communication process. It can make or break a conversation. In order to further understand the effects of the eye gaze versus the lack of eye contact, I participated in conversation with three people, using two types of eye behavior. In one situation, I gazed in the eyes of the individual. In the other situations, I completely avoided looking at the person all together. For the first part of my conversational experiment, I conversed with the preachers’ wife, whom I had just met following church service. I told a friend of mine to time the conversation, and interrupt it in two minutes. As soon as I introduced myself, a conversation began flowing. I made sure to lock my eyes into her eyes. The first few seconds of the eye gaze felt normal to me. I sensed that it felt normal to her as well. We went on to talk about where we were originally from, and what lead us to Huntsville. I could tell that she was a very confident person because she didn’t seem to mind looking back into my eyes. She kept the conversation going. After about ten seconds into the gaze I wanted to look away to the left, right or even her hair, but I didn’t want to alter the experiment. The continuous gaze didn’t feel normal. In fact, it was pretty awkward. Despite the uncomfortable situation, the conversation kept going with the preachers’ wife doing most of the talking. It seems that the continuous gaze made her feel like I was `extremely interested in what she was saying. I also felt like she thought I looked up to her. She elaborated and reiterated a lot of what she was saying....
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