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This is what happens when you hold your gaze for 4 minutes

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

With this objective, Arthur carried out a study in which different people had to stare into the eyes of his partner for 4 minutes. Previously, all of them had answered 36 questions specially created to deepen emotional connections.

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

The power of a simple glance

Why is 4 minutes so revealing?

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

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

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In our day to day, do we look?

We look but we do not always contemplate. Actually, we miss doing it and we even feel uncomfortable (“you make me nervous”, “why are you looking at me and saying nothing”, “it is hard for me to hold my gaze so many seconds”, etc.)

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

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 others respond "this is what makes us the couple that we are." Some ask "tell me what you want" and the others answer "continue listening to everything that, until now, we had not taken the time to tell each other." It seems that the conversations have no end.

How can we enhance the gaze on communication?

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

The “speaking” gaze is accompanied by active listening, mindfulness. 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 the other but we do not listen, we only hear ...

Certain. 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 feeds on the emotion evoked by the discourse and the communication offers and receives, it is not static. This is how it manages to bring both parties closer together.

In what other ways can we "shorten 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 that we work from Psychology and Coaching. For example, on those occasions where the patient expresses misunderstanding or manifests feeling misunderstood, We not only analyze the explicit discourse, we also read the format, both the one seen and the one listens. It is revealing when, in future conversations, these formats change and the sensations are totally different (“we have said the same thing but this time I have not felt alone”).

Is emotion the protagonist of the approach?

Exactly. The feeling that emerges from the interaction is the one that, most of the time, sets the course for the next ones. For this reason it is so important to read our language and learn to empathize with the language of the other.

What message can we keep today?

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

"In communication, enjoy and feel powerful to look and be looked at."

  • Related article: "Piper: an endearing short about the ability to overcome"

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