Eye contact may prove persuasive only if a person's already on your side, a study finds.
Pop psychology holds that to connect with someone, you should look deep into their eyes. The more you look, the more persuasive you'll be. But that may work only when your audience already agrees with you.
Researchers in Germany tested the power of the eye lock by polling university students about their opinions on controversial issues like assisted suicide, nuclear energy and affirmative action in the workplace.
They then had the students watch two-minute Internet videos of people expounding on the controversies. Eye-tracking machinery was used to measure where the students looked.
The students spent more time looking into the eyes of the speakers when they agreed with their point of view, and avoided eye contact when they disagreed or were neutral. "Persuaders may misattribute returned gaze to their persuasion skills," the researchers concluded.
For the rest of the story: http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2013/10/02/228465405/why-eye-contact-can-fail-to-win-people-over?ft=1&f=