Physical explanation of eye contact

In summary: Hum, yes but what is causing the feeling?It's not clear, but one theory is that the eyes detect the absence of light from the point in space, compared to the surroundings.
  • #1
stubbe11
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Is it not fascinating that you can feel eye contact on such distances we do?

What is it that we actually detect?

I understand that the eye absorb light, it may be the starting point for the explanation?
 
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  • #2
Wha exactly does eye “contact” mean? Answer that question and you will have the answer to your question.
 
  • #3
Eyes reflect some light, just like every other body part. You can see in which direction they look if they are not too far away. Humans have a lot of experience in judging where someone looks as eye contact has an important role in society.

If you don't see the eyes of that person you can't detect where they are looking at.
 
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  • #4
Hum, yes but what is causing the feeling?
Is it that the eyes detect the absence of light from the point in space, compared to the surroundings?

Imagine two matrices of light values, each representing one decoded vision of the environment for one person:

564326
45(2)34
587867

454767
34(2)78
455676

Let (2) be the incoming center for the pupil. Is this what our sensors detect as "eye contact"?
 
  • #5
stubbe11 said:
Is it that the eyes detect the absence of light from the point in space, compared to the surroundings?
No. You just look at the eyes in the same way as you look at the nose or anything else. There is nothing special about the eyes of a different person. What your brain makes out of the knowledge what a person is looking at is a question of biology.
stubbe11 said:
Imagine two matrices of light values, each representing one decoded vision of the environment for one person
That makes no sense.
 
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  • #6
stubbe11 said:
Is it not fascinating that you can feel eye contact on such distances we do?

What is it that we actually detect?

I understand that the eye absorb light, it may be the starting point for the explanation?
Context is important here, if you are in a crowd looking for a friend then you have primed your brain to find a specific shape colour features etc.
Eye contact with a stranger has lots of connotations, potential mate, enemy, family member. Millions of years of evolution at work.
 
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Related to Physical explanation of eye contact

1. How does eye contact convey meaning?

Eye contact is a nonverbal form of communication that can convey a variety of meanings, such as interest, attraction, respect, or aggression. It is believed that our eyes are the windows to our soul, and therefore, making eye contact can express emotions and intentions without saying a word.

2. Why is eye contact important in social interactions?

Eye contact plays a crucial role in social interactions as it helps to establish connections and build trust between individuals. It also shows that you are engaged and interested in the conversation or person you are interacting with.

3. What happens in the brain when we make eye contact?

When we make eye contact, our brain releases oxytocin, a hormone that promotes social bonding and trust. It also activates the mirror neuron system, which helps us to understand and empathize with others.

4. Is there a difference in eye contact across cultures?

Yes, the meaning and significance of eye contact can vary across cultures. In some cultures, maintaining prolonged eye contact is seen as a sign of respect and attentiveness, while in others, it can be considered rude or confrontational.

5. Can avoiding eye contact be a sign of lying?

Avoiding eye contact can sometimes be a sign of lying, as it can indicate discomfort or dishonesty. However, it is not always the case, as some people may avoid eye contact due to cultural norms or social anxiety.

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