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EyesBodylanguage

Techniques>Useofbodylanguage>Partsofthebodylanguage>Eyesbodylanguage
Up|Down|Sideways|Gazing|Glancing|Eyecontact|Staring|Squinting|Blinking|Winking|Closing|Damp|
Tears|Pupilsize|Rubbing|Seealso

Theeyesareoftencalled,withsomejustification,'thewindowsofthesoul'astheycansendmany
differentnonverbalsignals.
Forreadingbodylanguagethisisquiteusefulaslookingatpeople'seyesareanormalpartof
communication(whilstgazingatotherpartsofthebodycanbeseenasratherrude).
Whenapersonwearsdarkglasses,especiallyindoors,thispreventsothersfromreadingtheireye
signals.Itisconsequentlyratherdisconcerting,whichiswhy'gangsters'andthoseseekingto
appearpowerfulsometimeswearthem.

Lookingup
Whenapersonlooksupwardstheyareoftenthinking.Inparticulartheyareprobablymaking
picturesintheirheadandthusmaywellbeanindicatorofavisualthinker.
Whentheyaredeliveringaspeechorpresentation,lookingupmaybetheirrecallingtheir
preparedwords.
Lookingupwardsandtotheleftcanindicaterecallingamemory.Lookingupwardsandtheright
canindicateimaginativeconstructionofapicture(whichcanhencebetrayaliar).Becarefulwith
this:sometimesthedirectionsarereversedifindoubt,testthepersonbyaskingthemtorecall
knownfactsorimaginesomething.
Lookingupmayalsobeasignalofboredomasthepersonexaminesthesurroundingsinsearchof
somethingmoreinteresting.
Headloweredandeyeslookingbackupattheotherpersonisacoyandsuggestiveactionasit
combinestheheaddownofsubmissionwitheyecontactofattraction.Itcanalsobejudgemental,
especiallywhencombinedwithafrown.

Lookingdown
Lookingatapersoncanbeanactofpoweranddomination.Lookingdowninvolvesnotlookingat
theotherperson,whichhencemaybeasignofsubmission('Iamnotathreat,reallypleasedo
nothurtme.YouaresogloriousIwouldbedazzledifIlookedatyou.')
Lookingdowncanthusbeasignalofsubmission.Itcanalsoindicatethatthepersonisfeeling
guilty.
Anotablewaythatalowerpersonlooksdownatahigherpersonisbytiltingtheirheadback.
Eventallerpeoplemaydothis.
Lookingdownandtotheleftcanindicatethattheyaretalkingtothemselves(lookforslight
movementofthelips).Lookingdownandtotherightcanindicatethattheyareattendingto
internalemotions.
Inmanycultureswhereeyecontactisarudeordominantsignal,peoplewilllookdownwhen
talkingwithothersinordertoshowrespect.

Lookingsideways
Muchofourfieldofvisionisinthehorizontalplane,sowhenapersonlookssideways,theyare
eitherlookingawayfromwhatisinfrontofthemorlookingtowardssomethingthathastaken
theirinterest.
Aquickglancesidewayscanjustbecheckingthesourceofadistractiontoassessforthreator
interest.Itcanalsobedonetoshowirritation('Ididn'tappreciatethatcomment!').
Lookingtotheleftcanindicateapersonrecallingasound.Lookingtotherightcanindicatethat
theyareimaginingthesound.Aswithvisualandothermovements,thiscanbereversedandmay
needcheckingagainstknowntruthandfabrication.
Lateralmovement
Eyesmovingfromsidetosidecanindicateshiftinessandlying,asifthepersonislookingforan
escaperouteincasetheyarefoundout.
Lateralmovementcanalsohappenwhenthepersonisbeingconspiratorial,asiftheyarechecking
thatnobodyelseislistening.
Eyesmayalsomovebackandforthsideways(andsometimesupanddown)whenthepersonis
visualizingabigpictureandisliterallylookingitover.

Gazing
Lookingatsomethingshowsaninterestinit,whetheritisapainting,atableoraperson.When
youlookatsomething,thenotherswholookatyoureyeswillfeelcompelledtofollowyourgazeto
seewhatyouarelookingat.Thisisaremarkableskillasweareabletofollowagazevery
accurately.
Whenlookingatapersonnormally,thegazeisusuallyateyelevelorabove(seeeyecontact,
below).Thegazecanalsobeadefocusedlookingatthegeneralperson.
If,afterlockinggaze,apotentialpartnerkeepslookingattheeyes,thenitmaybelove.Ifthe
eyesslidedownoverthebody,thenitismorelikelytobelust.Exactlywheretheeyesgois
important.Lookingataperson'smouthcanindicatethatyouwouldliketokissthem.Lookingat
sexualregionsindicatesadesiretohavesexualrelationswiththem.
Lookingupanddownatawholepersonisusuallysizingthemup,eitherasapotentialthreator
asasexualpartner(noticewherethegazelingers).Thiscanbequiteinsultingandhenceindicate
apositionofpresumeddominance,asthepersoneffectivelysays'Iammorepowerfulthanyou,
yourfeelingsareunimportanttomeandyouwillsubmittomygaze'.
Lookingattheirforeheadornotatthemindicatesdisinterest.Thismayalsobeshownby
defocusedeyeswherethepersonis'insidetheirhead'thinkingaboutotherthings.
Thepowergazeisashortbutintensegazethatisusedtoimposeone'swillonanother,showing
powerwithoutaggression.
Itisdifficulttoconcealagazeasweareparticularlyadeptatidentifyingexactlywhereother
peoplearelooking.Thisisonereasonwhywehavelargereyewhitesthananimals,asitaids
complexcommunication.
Peoplewhoarelyingmaylookawaymoreoftenastheyfeelguiltywhenlookingatothers.
However,whentheyknowthis,theymayovercompensatebylookingatyouforlongerthan
usual.Thisalsohelpsthemwatchyourbodylanguageforsignsofdetection.
Theacceptabledurationofagazevarieswithcultureandsometimesevenaslightglanceis
unacceptable,suchasbetweengendersorbyalowerstatusperson.
Whenpeopleareofferedachoiceinfrontofthem(asinshops),theywillstareattheoptionsas
theyevaluatethem.Theywillusuallyenduplookinglongerattheirpreferredoption,perhaps
oftenlookingbackatitwhiletheyscanothers.Thisworksinreverse,soifyoumanagethetime
availabletolookatthings,theitemviewedthemostismorelikelytobethatwhichischosen.
Nonvisualgazepatterns(NVGPs)involverapidmovements(saccades)andfixationswhileweare
'insideourheads',thinking.Rapidmovementshappenmorewhenweareaccessinglongterm
memoryandfixationsmorewhenweareaccessingworkingmemory.Thisisusefultodetect
whetherpeoplearethinkingaboutoldereventsorrecentevents(oroldeventsthatarealready
broughttoworkingmemory).

Glancing
Glancingatsomethingcanbetrayadesireforthatthing,forexampleglancingatthedoorcan
indicateadesiretoleave.
Glancingatapersoncanindicateadesiretotalkwiththem.Itcanalsoindicateaconcernforthat
person'sfeelingwhensomethingissaidthatmightupsetthem.
Glancingmayindicateadesiretogazeatsomethingorsomeonewhereitisforbiddentolookfora
prolongedperiod.
Glancingsidewaysatapersonwithraisedeyebrowscanbeasignofattraction.Withouttheraised
eyebrowitismorelikelytobedisapproval.

Eyecontact
Eyecontactbetweentwopeopleisapowerfulactofcommunicationandmayshowinterest,
affectionordominance.

Doeeyes
Asofteningoftheeyes,withrelaxingofmusclesaroundtheeyeandaslightdefocusingasthe
persontriestotakeinthewholepersonissometimescalleddoeeyes,asitoftenindicatessexual
desire,particularlyifthegazeisprolongedandthepupilsaredilated(seebelow).Theeyesmay
alsoappearshiny.

Makingeyecontact
Lookingatapersonacknowledgesthemandshowsthatyouareinterestedinthem,particularlyif
youlookintheireyes.
Lookingataperson'seyesalsoletsyouknowwheretheyarelooking.Weareamazinglygoodat
detectingwhattheyarelookingatandcandetectevenabriefglanceatpartsofourbody,for
example.
Ifapersonsayssomethingwhenyouarelookingawayandthenyoumakeeyecontact,thenthis
indicatestheyhavegrabbedyourattention.

Breakingeyecontact
Prolongedeyecontactcanbethreatening,soinconversationwefrequentlylookawayandback
again.
Breakingeyecontactcanindicatethatsomethingthathasjustbeensaidthatmakestheperson
notwanttosustaineyecontact,forexamplethattheyareinsulted,theyhavebeenfoundout,
theyfeelthreatened,etc.Thiscanalsohappenwhenthepersonthinkssomethingthatcausesthe
sameinternaldiscomfort.
Lookingataperson,breakingeyecontactandthenlookingimmediatelybackatthemisaclassic
flirtingaction,particularlywiththeheadheldcoylylowinsuggestedsubmission.
Longeyecontact
Eyecontactlongerthannormalcanhaveseveraldifferentmeanings.
Eyecontactoftenincreasessignificantlywhenwearelistening,andespeciallywhenwearepaying
closeattentiontowhattheotherpersonissaying.Lesseyecontactisusedwhentalking,
particularlybypeoplewhoarevisualthinkersastheystareintothedistanceorupwardsasthey
'see'whattheyaretalkingabout.
Wealsolookmoreatpeoplewelikeandlikepeoplewholookatusmore.Whendonewithdoe
eyesandsmiles,itisasignofattraction.Loverswillstareintoeachotherseyesforalongperiod.
Attractionisalsoindicatedbylookingbackandforthbetweenthetwoeyes,asifweare
desperatelytryingtodetermineiftheyareinterestedinustoo.
Anattractionsignalthatismorecommonlyusedbywomenistoholdtheotherperson'sgazefor
aboutthreeseconds,Thenlookdownforasecondortwoandthenlookbackupagain(toseeif
theyhavetakenthebait).Iftheotherpersonisstilllookingatthem,theyarerewardedwitha
coysmileoraslightwideningoftheeyes('Yes,thismessageisforyou!').
Whendonewithoutblinking,contractedpupilsandanimmobileface,thiscanindicate
domination,aggressionanduseofpower.Insuchcircumstancesastaringcompetitioncanensue,
withthefirstpersontolookawayadmittingdefeat.
Prolongedeyecontactcanbedisconcerting.Atricktoreducestressfromthisistolookatthe
bridgeoftheirnose.Theywillthinkyouarestilllookingintheireyes.
Sometimesliars,knowingthatloweyecontactisasignoflying,willovercompensateandlookat
youforalongerthanusualperiod.Oftenthisisdonewithoutblinkingastheyforcethemselves
intothisact.Theymaysmilewiththemouth,butnotwiththeeyesasthisismoredifficult.

Limitedeyecontact
Whenapersonmakesverylittleeyecontact,theymaybefeelinginsecure.Theymayalsobe
lyingandnotwanttobedetected.
Lookingatapersoniscognitivelytaxingaswesearchformeaningintheirfaceandeyes.Thisis
onereasonwhywetendtolookawaywhenwearetalking,aswecanliterallyrunoutofmental
bandwidthifwekeptlookingandtalking.
Inpersuasion
Eyecontactisveryimportantforpersuasion.Ifyoulookattheotherpersonandtheydonotlook
backatyou,thentheirattentionislikelyelsewhere.Eveniftheyhearyou,thelackofeyecontact
reducesthepersonalconnection.
Ifyouwanttopersuadeorchangeminds,thenthefirststepistogaineyecontactandthen
sustainitwithregularreconnection.

Staring
Staringisgenerallydonewitheyeswiderthanusual,prolongedattentiontosomethingandwith
reducedblinking.Itgenerallyindicatesparticularinterestinsomethingorsomeone.
Staringatapersoncanindicateshockanddisbelief,particularlyafterhearingunexpectednews.
Whentheeyesaredefocused,theperson'sattentionmaybeinsidetheirheadandwhattheyare
staringatmaybeofnosignificance.(Withoutcare,thiscanbecomequiteembarrassingfor
them).
Prolongedeyecontactcanbeaggressive,affectionateordeceptiveandisdiscussedfurtherabove.
Staringatanother'seyesisusuallymoreassociatedwithaggressiveaction.
Ashortstare,witheyeswideopenandthenbacktonormalindicatessurprise.Thecorrection
backtonormalimpliesthatthepersonwouldliketostaremore,butknowsitisimpolite(this
maybeaccompaniedwithsomeapologetictext).
Whenapersonstaresatanother,thenthesecondpersonmaybeembarrassedandlookaway.If
theydecidetostareback,thenthepeople'lockeyes'andthismaybecomeacompetitionwiththe
loserbeingthepersonwholooksawayfirst.
Thelengthofanacceptablestarevariesacrosscultures,asdoeswhoisallowedtostare,andat
what.Babiesandyoungchildrenstaremore,untiltheyhavelearnedtheculturalrules.
Following
Theeyeswillnaturallyfollowmovementofanykind.Ifthepersonislookingatsomethingof
interestthentheywillnaturallykeeplookingatthis.Theyalsofollowneutralorfearedthingsin
casethemovementturnsintoathreat.
Thisisusedwhensalespeoplemovesomethinglikeapenorfingerupanddown,guidingwhere
thecustomerlooks,includingtoeyecontactandtopartsoftheproductbeingsold.

Squinting
Narrowingofaperson'seyescanindicateevaluation,perhapsconsideringthatsomethingtoldto
themisnottrue(oratleastnotfullyso).
Squintingcanalsoindicateuncertainty('Icannotquiteseewhatismeanthere.')
Narrowingeyeshasasimilareffecttoconstrictedpupilsincreatingagreaterdepthoffieldsoyou
canseemoredetail.Thisisusedbyanimalswhendeterminingdistancetotheirpreyandcan
haveasimilaraggressivepurpose.
Squintingcanbeusedbyliarswhodonotwanttheotherpersontodetecttheirdeception.
Whenapersonthinksaboutsomethinganddoesnotwanttolookattheinternalimage,theymay
involuntarilysquint.
Squintingcanalsohappenwhenlightsorthesunarebright.
Loweringofeyelidsisnotreallyasquintbutcanhaveasimilarmeaning.Itcanalsoindicate
tiredness.
Loweringeyelidswhilststilllookingattheotherpersoncanbeapartofaromanticandsuggestive
cluster,andmaybeaccompaniedwithtossingbacktheheadandslightlypuckeringthelipsina
kiss.

Blinking
Blinkingisaneatnaturalprocesswherebytheeyelidswipetheeyesclean,muchasawindscreen
wiperonacar.
Blinkratetendstoincreasewhenpeoplearethinkingmoreorarefeelingstressed.Thiscanbean
indicationoflyingastheliarhastokeepthinkingaboutwhattheyaresaying.Realizingthis,they
mayalsoforcetheireyesopenandappeartostare.
Blinkingcanalsoindicaterapport,andpeoplewhoareconnectedmayblinkatthesamerate.
Someonewhoislisteningcarefullytoyouismorelikelytoblinkwhenyoupause(keepingeyes
opentowatcheverythingyousay).
Beyondnaturalrandomblinking,asingleblinkcansignalsurprisethatthepersondoesnotquite
believewhattheysee('I'llwipemyeyescleantobettersee').
Rapidblinkingblocksvisionandcanbeanarrogantsignal,saying'Iamsoimportant,Idonot
needtoseeyou'.
Rapidblinkingalsoflutterstheeyelashesandcanbeacoyromanticinvitation.
Reducedblinkingincreasesthepowerofastare,whetheritisromanticordominantinpurpose.

Winking
Closingoneeyeinawinkisadeliberategesturethatoftensuggestsconspiratorial('YouandI
bothunderstand,thoughothersdonot').
Winkingcanalsobeaslightlysuggestivegreetingandisreminiscentofasmallwaveofthehand
('Hellothere,gorgeous!').

Closing
Closingtheeyesshutsouttheworld.Thiscanmean'Idonotwanttoseewhatisinfrontofme,
itissoterrible'.
Sometimeswhenpeoplearetalkingtheyclosetheireyes.Thisisanequivalenttoturningawayso
eyecontactcanbeavoidedandanyimpliedrequestfortheotherpersontospeakiseffectively
ignored.
Visualthinkersmayalsoclosetheireyes,sometimeswhentalking,sotheycanbetterseethe
internalimageswithoutexternaldistraction.

Damp
Thetearductsprovidemoisturetotheeyes,bothforwashingthemandfortears.
Dampeyescanbesuppressedweeping,indicatinganxiety,fearorsadness.Itcanalsoindicate
thatthepersonhasbeencryingrecently.
Dampnesscanalsooccurwhenthepersonistired(thismaybeaccompaniedbyrednessofthe
eyes.

Tears
Actualtearsthatrolldownthecheeksareoftenasymptomofextremefearorsadness,although
paradoxicallyyoucanalsoweeptearsofjoy.
Weepingcanbesilent,withlittleexpressionotherthanthetears(indicatingacertainamountof
control).Italsotypicallyinvolvesscrewingupofthefaceand,whenemotionsareextreme,canbe
accompaniedbyuncontrollable,convulsivesobs.
Meninmanyculturearenotexpectedtocryandlearntosuppressthisresponse,notevenbeing
abletocrywhenalone.Eveniftheireyesfeeldamptheymayturnaway.
Tearsandsadnessmaybetransformedintoanger,whichmaybedirectatwhoeverisavailable.

Pupilsize
Asubtlesignalthatissometimesdetectedonlysubconsciouslyandisseldomrealizedbythe
senderiswherethepupilgetslarger(dilates)orcontracts.
Sexualdesireisacommoncauseofpupildilation,andissometimescalled'doeeyes'or'bedroom
eyes'(magazinepicturessometimeshavedeliberatelydoctoredeyestomakeamodellookmore
attractive).Whenanotherperson'seyesdilatewemaybeattractedfurthertothemandoureyes
dilateinreturn.Likewise,whentheirpupilsaresmall,oursmaywellcontractalso.Wealsodilate
pupilsforpeoplewejustlikeoradmire.Thiscanbeusefulfordeterminingaperson'sloyalties
(eg.byshowingthemapictureofapolitician).
Pupilsdilatealsowhenitisdarkertoletinmorelight.Perhapsthisiswhyclubs,bars,restaurants
andotherromanticvenuesaresodingy.
Areversalofattractiondilationisthatpupilswillconstrictwhensomeoneisdisgustedorisnot
attractedtotheotherperson(Idon'twanttoseeyou).
Afundamentalcauseofeyedilationiscognitiveeffort.Whenwearethinkingmore,oureyes
dilate.Thishelpsexplain'doeeyes'aswhenwelikeotherspeople,lookingatthemleadsto
significantthinkingabouthowwemaygainandsustaintheirattention.Yetpupilconstrictioncan
indicateanoverloadedbrain(perhapstryingtoshutouttheworld,aswhenpeoplecloseeyesfor
an'extendedblink').
Reputedly,peoplewhoareabouttomakeabaddecisionwillhavemoredilatedpupils.
Peoplewithdarkirises(thecoloredcirclearoundthepupil)canlookattractivebecauseitis
difficulttodistinguishtheirisfromthepupil,withtheeffectisthattheirdarkpupilslooklarger
thantheyare.Peoplewithlightirisesmakethepupilseasiertosee,sowhentheirpupilsactually
dodilatethenthesignalisclearertodetect,makingthemmoreattractive'attherighttime'.
Thereverseofthisisthatpupilscontractwhenwedonotliketheotherperson,perhapsinan
echoofsquintlikenarrowingoftheeyes.Peoplewithsmallpupilscanhenceappearthreatening
orjustunpleasant.
Whiletherearemanydifferentreasonsforpupildilationorconstriction,asimplepointto
rememberisthat,ingeneral,dilatedpupilsarepositivewhileconstrictedpupilsarenegative.A
usefulgeneralpointalsoisthatdilatedpupilsmeans'Iwantmore'andconstrictedmeans'Iwant
toseeless'.
Pupilswhichhavelesserdiameterthan3mmorgreaterthan6.5mmcanindicateapersonon
drugs(policewilllookforthis).Pupilswhichareunequalinsize,nonroundornonreactiveto
lightcanindicatebraindamage(thisiswhydoctorsmayflashalightinyoureyesafteryouhave
fallen).

Rubbing
Whenapersonisfeelinguncomfortable,theeyesmaywateralittle.Tocoverthisandtryto
restoreanappropriatedryness,theypersonmayrubtheireyeandmaybeevenfeigntirednessor
havingsomethingintheeye.Thisalsogivestheopportunitytoturntheheadaway.
Therubbingmaybewithonefinger,withafingerandthumb(fortwoeyes)orwithbothhands.
Themorethecoverage,themorethepersonistryingtohidebehindthehands.

Linesintheeyes
ThePax6geneaffectspartsofthebrain(intheleftanteriorcingulatecortex)whichregulate
approachrelatedtendencies.Thisgenealsoaffectslinesappearingintheeye.Thesurpriseresult
isthatpeoplewithradiallinesintheiristendtobewarmandtenderminded.Thosewith
concentriclinesintheiristhatcurvearoundthepupilindicateimpulsiveness.

Seealso
Eyebrowbodylanguage,ThePowerGaze

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