By now we’ve all heard plenty about body language – the way we express our thoughts and emotions through our physical gestures. For instance, crossing your arms in front of your chest is a classic move that implies you are emotionally closed off. Constant fidgeting signifies to another person that you would rather be somewhere else.
Have you ever considered that there is a body language of the eyes? People say that they are ‘windows to the soul,’ but do you really know how to read them? Body language experts look at everything from pupil size to blinking patterns to read the body language of the eyes. Read on to find out more.
We have no conscious control over the size of our pupils. “Dilation” is when they are enlarged; “contraction” is when they shrink. Your pupils naturally dilate in conditions of low light to allow the eyes to take in more light. They contract in the sun to reduce the amount of light taken in.
However, there are special conditions when pupils will involuntarily dilate, such as physical or psychological pleasure. If someone is talking to you about something you’re interested in, your pupils dilate in pleasure. If you are bored, your pupils will contract. If you find another person or thing attractive, your pupils dilate.
In turn, dilated pupils are found attractive by others. This is the phenomenon known as “bedroom eyes” because of the connotation.
Pupil dilation is also a reliable indicator of lying since enlarged pupils are a sign that your brain is working hard—which it must do for you to tell a lie.
Eye Contact – Persistent
We have all been coached to make regular eye contact on dates, in job interviews, and just in everyday life if we want to be successful communicators. But what if eye contact is too persistent?
For one, it can be intimidating. It can cause the person who is the subject of it to feel overly scrutinized and make them uncomfortable. In fact, this is true even between humans and animals. One reason that children are attacked by pets is that they often make persistent eye contact with them, making the pets defensive and afraid, which compels them to attack.
Overly persistent eye contact is also a recognized sign of lying. Because a liar will make a conscious effort not to avoid eye contact, they may attempt to hold your gaze too much.
Eye Contact – Evasive
Why do we avoid eye contact? We commonly think that it is because we are ashamed or trying to deceive. This can be true.
However, it has also been found that children who were asked to answer a question were more effective at finding answers when they looked away to think. Children who maintained eye contact when answering had a more challenging time finding the correct answers.
We have an instinctive and biological need to blink. But blinking can also be an indicator of attraction, which is why it is seen as a sign a flirting. Men and women blink at the same rate as each other. Blinking more than the average of 6-10 times per minute can be a good indicator that a person is attracted to the person they are talking to.
In the West, winking is a cheeky form of social expression that we use with people we are familiar with. Around the world, however, this may not be the case. In Eastern cultures, for example, winking is frowned upon.
When a person is thinking, do you see their eyes turn to one side or another? This may give you a clue as to what kinds of thoughts they are having.
If they are looking left, it indicates that they are reminiscing or trying to remember something. If they look right, it means they are having more creative thoughts. Creative thoughts can also mean that someone is being deceitful i.e. creating a version of events.
If the person is left-handed, the direction indicators may be reversed.
Key Points to Take Away
- Avoid looking to the right – it’s a universal symbol of boredom and deceit.
- Demonstrate your interest in someone with regular intervals of eye contact but remember that constant eye contact can be intimidating.
- Pupil dilation can mean someone is interested; or, it can mean the room has become brighter.
- Try not to wink too often, even in cultures that accept winking in jest.