Can’t see eye to eye in an argument?

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

eye contact dog
I wonder who’s winning the argument.

In a really heated argument, it can be difficult to see eye to eye with another person. That is, individuals can be close-minded and refuse take the other person’s point of view into consideration.

Well, according to a team from the University of Freiburg, physically meeting another person’s gaze while they’re speaking can actually be a bad thing.

The study involved high-tech eye-tracking machines that followed the gazes of participants as they listened to a “persuasive” speaker. They found that the longer a volunteer watched the speaker’s eyes, the less convinced they were by whatever the person was saying. The only exception was with participants who already agreed with the speakers words!

“There is a lot of cultural lore about the power of eye contact as an influence tool,” said professor Frances Chen, who conducted the research at the University of Freiburg in Germany. “But our findings show that direct eye contact makes skeptical listeners less likely to change their minds, not more, as previously believed.”

Well, what the heck are we supposed to look at when a person is talking, the floor or something? Actually, the best thing to watch when a person’s making an argument is their mouth! Well, at least when I’m arguing over the internet, I won’t have to worry about where my eyes are wandering.

Featured image courtesy of Adam Arroyo on Flickr. Image of dog courtesy of Matthew on Flickr.