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Scientists decode our inability to maintain eye-to-eye contact while talking

Have you ever thought why it is difficult to maintain eye-to-eye contact when you talk to someone? Well scientists have decoded human beings’ inability to hold someone’s gaze while talking.


By   |  Updated On : December 29, 2016 07:22 PM
Scientists decode our inability to maintain eye-to-eye contact while talking (Representational picture)

Scientists decode our inability to maintain eye-to-eye contact while talking (Representational picture)

New Delhi :  

Have you ever thought why it is difficult to maintain eye-to-eye contact when you talk to someone? Well scientists have decoded human beings’ inability to hold someone’s gaze while talking.

According to scientists, maintaining eye contact while thinking of words is too demanding a task for the brain. This may be an answer to why we sometimes find it difficult to maintain eye contact while talking. 

Sometimes, when you break an eye contact with the other person, it indicates that you are bored with the conversation. But, researchers have found that it may be because we try to keep our brains from overloading.

Experiments to learn more about how the phenomenon works were carried out by the researchers from the Kyoto University in Japan.

About 26 volunteers participated in a common word-association game. A person was shown a noun and was asked to immediately reply with a connected verb. While some words were easy, some were difficult.

The participants were asked to interact with a face on a computer that sometimes looked away. At the same time, they played the game with those different types of easy and difficult words.

The responses were then compared to the words with how long it took a volunteer to respond and their tendency to break eye contact, ‘Medical Xpress’ reported.

It was found that the participants were likely to take more time when responding to harder words, but not as much time when they broke eye contact. This indicates that the dual task of maintaining eye contact while also racking the brain for a word to meet the request is just too demanding, researchers said.

The brain pushes for breaking eye contact so it can focus on finding a word that will fulfil the obligation. The study was published in the journal Cognition.

First Published: Thursday, December 29, 2016 07:13 PM


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