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  • How long do you think we could maintain eye contacts before it got weird?

  • I don't know. Let's find out!

  • Okay, it got weird.

  • Yeah, sorry.

  • Hey, guys! Tara and Trace here for DNews.

  • And if you think eye contact is weird, you're not alone.

  • When we lock eyes with a stranger, it can make us feel a little bit squeamish.

  • But why is that?

  • I mean it's an essential part of communication, so why does it make us so icky?

  • 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.

  • For their study, researchers asked 32 volunteers to look at a series of photos featuring a person who is either looking directly at the camera or looking away.

  • 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.

  • Turns out volunteers reported feeling more emotionally tuned in when the people and the photos appeared to be making eye contact with them.

  • And their physiology reflected that.

  • It's important to remember though that this is controlled experiment in a closed environment.

  • It's entirely possible that in person the effect would be even stronger.

  • True, and it's also worth considering the cultural implications of something like eye contact.

  • In the Western world for example, it's considered rude if you don't maintain eye contact with someone as they're talking to you.

  • That's not really the case for other cultures.

  • In a lot of Middle Eastern countries, eye contact, especially between a man and a woman, is considered inappropriate because it [can] be construed as romantic interest.

  • But if you're talking about two people of the same gender, then intense eye contact can be a way of showing sincerity.

  • Like you really mean what you're saying.

  • True. Asian cultures are probably the trickiest because their social hierarchies are so much more pronounced than they are here in America.

  • They also place a huge importance on respect in the amount of eye contact you make with someone is a direct reflection of that.

  • So in places like China and Japan for instance, it's widely accepted that subordinates should not maintain steady eye contact with their superiors.

  • Whether it's your professor or your boss or even your parents.

  • The same is true for most African and Latin American cultures.

  • In those countries, intense eye contact isn't just disrespectful, it can often be a sign of aggression.

  • Yeah, it's crazy that something so innate to our culture might actually be offensive in other countries.

  • But I guess that's the beauty of the world.

  • No matter where you go, you're always bound to offend someone.

  • And how!

  • What do you guys think? Especially those of you living outside of America.

  • How is eye contact interpreted in your culture?

  • Let us know your answers down in the comment, down there.

  • And as always, thanks a lot for watching DNews.

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