Why Does Everyone Hate Eye Contact #
When we lock eyes with a stranger, it can make us feel a little bit squeamish.
- squeamish (adj.) - easily upset or shocked by things that you find unpleasant or that you do not approve of
- unpleasant (adj.) - not enjoyable or pleasant
I mean it’s an essential part of communication, so why is does it makes us so icky?
- icky (adj. informal) - unpleasant, especially to look at
Well, according to a new study, making eye contact with someone makes us more self-aware and that can lead to feelings of self-consciousness.
- self-awareness (noun. U) - good knowledge and judgment about yourself
- self-conscious (adj.) - nervous or uncomfortable because you are worried about what people think about you or your actions
After looking at the images, volunteers were asked to rate how strongly they reacted to the photos while researchers took measurements of their skin conductivity, which is an objective measure of how emotionally charged someone is.
- conductivity (noun. U) - the power to conduct electricity or heat
- electricity (noun. U) - a form of energy that can beproduced in several ways and thatprovides power to devices that createlight, heat, etc.
- conduct (verb.) - to allow electricity or heat to go through
Turns out volunteers reported feeling more emotionally tuned in when the people and the photos appeared to be making eye contact with them.
- turn out - to happen in a particular way or to have a particular result, especially an unexpected one
- tune in - to have a good understanding of what is happening in a situation or what other people are thinking
And their physiology reflected that.
- physiology (noun. U) - (the scientific study of) the way in which the bodies of living things work
It’s important to remember though that this is controlled experiment in a closed environment.
- experiment (noun. C/U) - a test done in order to learn something or to discover if something works or is true
True, and it’s also worth considering the cultural implications of something like eye contact.
- implication (noun. C/U) - an occasion when you seem to suggest something without saying it directly
- occasion (noun. C) - a particular time, especially when something happens or has happened
In a lot of Middle Eastern countries, eye contact, especially between a man and a woman, is considered inappropriate because it be construed as romantic interest.
- inappropriate (adj.) - unsuitable
- construe sth as sth - to understand the meaning,especially of other people’s actions and statements, in a particular way
But if you’re talking about two people of the same gender, then intense eye contact can be a way of showing sincerity.
- intense (adj.) - extreme and forceful or (of a feeling) very strong
- extreme (adj.) - very large in amount or degree
- sincerity (noun. U) - honesty
Asian cultures are probably the trickiest because their social hierarchies are so much more pronounced than they are here in America.
- tricky (adj.) - If a piece of work or problem is tricky, it is difficult to deal with and needs careful attention or skill.
- hierarchy (nonu. C) - a system in which people or things are arranged according to their importance
- pronounce (verb. formal) - to say something officially or certainly
So in places like China and Japan for instance, it’s widely accepted that suboridinates should not maintain steady eye contact with their superiors.
- subordinate (noun. C) - a person who has a less important position than you in an organization
In those countries, intense eye contact isn’t just disrespectful, it can often be a sign of aggression.
- aggression (noun. U) - spoken or physical behaviour that is threatening or involves harm to someone or something
Yeah, it’s crazy that something so innate to our culture might actually be offensive in other countries.
- innate (adj.) - An innate quality or ability is one that you were born with, not one you have learned.
No matter where you go, you’re always bound to offend someone.
- be bound (for/to) (adj.) - certain or extremely likely to happen
How is eye contact interpreted in your culture?
- interpret (verb.) - to decide what the intended meaning of something is
- intend (verb.) - to have as a plan or purpose