Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles This DNews episode is brought to you by domain.com. 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.