Just Look Me in the Eye Already

Posted by M ws On Thursday, June 6, 2013 0 comments
You're having a conversation with someone and suddenly his eyes drop to his smartphone or drift over your shoulder toward someone else.

It feels like this is happening more than ever—in meetings, at the dinner table, even at intimate cocktail parties—and there are signs that the decline of eye contact is a growing problem.



Adults make eye contact between 30% and 60% of the time in an average conversation, says the communications-analytics company Quantified Impressions. But the Austin, Texas, company says people should be making eye contact 60% to 70% of the time to create a sense of emotional connection, according to its analysis of 3,000 people speaking to individuals and groups.

One barrier to contact is the use of mobile devices for multitasking. Among twentysomethings, "it's almost become culturally acceptable to answer that phone at dinner, or to glance down at the baseball scores," says Noah Zandan, president of Quantified Impressions. (A common feint, texting while maintaining eye contact, not only is difficult but also comes off as phony.)

Some psychologists point to FOMO, or "fear of missing out" on social opportunities, says a study published earlier this year in Computers in Human Behavior. Young adults who are dissatisfied with their lives or relationships feel compelled to check mobile gadgets repeatedly to see what social opportunities they are missing—even when they don't enjoy it, the study says.

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