This Is What Happens When You Hold Your Gaze For 4 Minutes (social Experiment)

Psychologist and philosopher Dr. Arthur Aron professor at Stony Brook University (New York), has been studying love, friendship, intimacy and all those elements that reinforce and induce interpersonal closeness for 40 years.

With this objective, Arthur carried out a study in which different people had to look into their partner’s eyes for 4 minutes. Previously, all of them had answered 36 questions created especially to deepen emotional connections.

This week, The team at the Mensalus Psychological Assistance Institute presents this interesting video in which we observe the results of the experiment and confirm the enormous power of the gaze.

The power of a simple look

Why are 4 minutes so revealing?

Communication reaches its maximum splendor when we use all the senses. This implementation does not necessarily have to be simultaneous, the important thing is that we give prominence to each of them at the right moment and pay attention to their idiosyncrasies.

In fact, offering exclusivity to a sense, at times, can become a powerful amplifier of interaction. And not only that; You can, in a matter of seconds, delve into concepts that go beyond words.

In our daily lives, do we look?

We look but we do not always contemplate. In reality, we find it strange to do it and we even feel uncomfortable (“you make me nervous”, “why are you looking at me and not saying anything”, “I have a hard time holding my gaze for so many seconds”, etc.).

The 4 minutes serve the participants of the experiment to do just that, to contemplate the person in their fullness and make mutual recognition. The result is questions and answers from silence that find a common thread: complicity.

You may be interested:  How to Overcome Loneliness: 5 Keys to Breaking Isolation

The dialogue that is established is exciting. Some eyes say “tell me about yourself” and the others respond “I talk about what I am when I am with you.”

Some define “this is what unites us” while the others respond “this is what makes us the couple we are.” Some ask “tell me what you want” and the others answer “continue listening to everything that, until now, we had not spent time telling each other.” There seems to be no end to the conversations.

How can we enhance the gaze in communication?

To begin with, integrating it in all contexts, not only in those most intimate spaces. The gaze is, as we pointed out, an act of mutual recognition. Avoiding eye contact is a sign of distance and disconnection (we disconnect the person in front of us from our message). If we do not contemplate the other, we downplay his position. That is why it is so important to convey his worth through looking and being looked at.

The “speaking” look is accompanied by active listening, full attention. Being present in the here and now entails a gaze that flows to the sound of the words: an attentive but not fixed gaze.

Many times, we look at others but we don’t listen, we only hear..

TRUE. We look, yes, but we are thinking about aspects outside the conversation. This look is clearly different: it loses consistency, it is empty, inexpressive. Looking closely includes an “eye dance” that accompanies the rhythm of the words. At that moment the gaze is fed by the emotion evoked by the speech and the communication offered and received is not static. This is how both parties get closer.

You may be interested:  How Do We Learn to Love in an Authentic Way?

In what other ways can we “bridge the gap”?

Closeness in personal relationships depends of course on various factors, but there are two elements that are especially decisive in communication. We talk about tone of voice and body language.

Learning to listen to the tone and the body is something we work on in Psychology and Coaching. For example, on those occasions where the patient expresses incomprehension or feels misunderstood, we not only analyze the explicit speech, we also read the format, both what is seen and what is heard. It is revealing when, in future conversations, these formats change and the sensations are totally different (“we have said the same thing to each other but this time I have not felt alone”).

Is emotion the protagonist of the approach?

Exact. That feeling that emerges from the interaction is what, most of the time, sets the course for the following ones. This is why it is so important to read our language and learn to empathize with the language of others.

What message can we stay with today?

Communication is complex and needs to be attended to as it deserves. That said, perhaps we can stay with a valuable message that the experiment that we have shared today sends:

“In communication, enjoy and feel powerful from looking and being looked at.”