soul Window to the She uses female pre-organic expressions Looking down and to the left indicates a person talking to themselves or psyching themselves up internally. When a person looks and body language down and to the right, the person is actually with a submissive experiencing internal emotional turmoil. appearance to express her understanding, at least on aby Dr Leow Chee Seng, Fellow of Human Behaviour Academy subconscious level. Talking toFrom gazing to winking, there is so much that can be expressedwith the appropriate eye contact. one’s selfE ye contact is a primary Humans tend to look upwards and to the left component of any interpersonal as a natural reflex because we use our right communications and the study brain to analyse and think logically. of such eye behaviour is called oculesics. In contrast, looking upwards can be bad if perceived in the audience as this can beSo dominant is this unspoken language that interpreted as the signal for boredom – The head being either lowered down whilemost of us tend to make a series of quick the eyes look upwards can also showjudgements about each other simply based on because that person had started to examine submissive behaviour to enhance attraction, Recalling the surroundings for something else morewhat we see. Otherwise, a phrase like “love at interesting. especially among women. A lot of artists use a feelingthe first sight” wouldn’t evoke so much awe. this pose in photographs to increase their attractiveness and to show submission toLOOKING UP The opposite applies when a person looks their fans.When a person is thinking, they would upward to the right as this indicatesusually look upwards. It symbolises a person imaginative construction within the mind. In Note however that if someone with the samevisualising his or her thoughts and hence analysing human behaviour, such glances gesture expresses a frown instead, it showsallows you to communicate concepts better are always associated with betrayal and the that person is being judgemental. LOOKING SIDEWAYSwith that person if you take advantage of their telling of lies. The sideways look can be interpreted in sovisual thinking processes. LOOKING DOWN many ways. As mentioned earlier, it is an As a psychologist or body language In most cultures, it is rude to sustain long action to avoid or show boredom towards specialist, you need to test the validity eye contact with another person. We look a topic of conversation, with the most Is she telling and reliability of such concepts of each down when talking with others so as to show common interpretation being that person is seeking some distraction. the truth? person you’re dealing with before respect. arriving at any conclusions though. We can also observe this scenario when Looking to the left indicates a person a superior is talking to the subordinates. recalling a sound while the rightward look You can do this test simply by asking indicates the person imaging a sound. This the person to remember the experience The subordinates look down to indicate submission. They are trying to give the signal observation needs to be verified because of riding a cycle and then observe the visual and other movements can often be to their boss that they do pose no threat and direction of eye movement. Thereafter, ask reversed. also messaging “Please do not hurt me!” the person to imagine the picture of a described cartoon and observe the direction Lateral eye movement can be interpreted Besides indicating submission, looking down of eye movement. Both tests can help you as someone telling lies and projecting can be interpreted as a person feeling guilty. shiftiness because the eye movement verify just how true this behavioural hypothesis Just what the interpretation is needs to be is for that person. gives the impression they are looking for matched with the appropriate scenario. an escape route in case their lies are found42 | JUL / AUG 2011 • OH! JUL / AUG 2011 • OH! | 43
out. Lateral eye movements also happen Looking away is always applied in our daily you notice a lady with a very short miniskirt, when the person is being conspiratorial work. If you attend an interview and feel that men would definitely glance at her as often as and they want to ensure no one else is all is going well, check the eye behaviour of they can. listening in. the interviewer. Usually, the interviewer gives unconscious signals by looking away when the STARING time is up or the information you’ve provided Direct gazing or staring is a is sufficient. strong nonverbal behaviour in terms of eye contact. It The sustained gaze or She might be feeling Your failure to heed this signal may give a bored when looking negative impact on the interviewer and negate is an action where we look steadily and intently with great stare is an effective way sideways or possibly all those wonderful qualities you’d been curiosity, interest and pleasure to display power. recalling a sound espousing earlier. or wonder. SQUINTING Humans tend to gaze at anything Squinting is an action where the eyes are they find unusual such as birthmarks, partially closed and that can be interpreted to scars, unusual cloth and even physical mean the message received is unbelievable disability. When communicating with someone or an expression of uncertainty because the who has a handicap, we would tend to stare LOOKING AWAY person cannot comprehend the message at the disability rather than making direct eye Eye contact or lack thereof can clearly be being conveyed. contact. used to give the signal of boredom in interpersonal communication. Looking away We too will squint involuntarily when thinking For adults, we know it is rude to stare at facial FOLLOWING EYES is actually a signal to tell other parties that of something you don’t really want to accept or scars and we try to avoid them. Children It is natural for our eyes to automatically you are ready to end the conversation, bored image – like taking bitter medicine. haven’t learnt this lesson fully and they will follow movement of any kind. For example, if of the topics and probably feeling annoyed as look at the abnormality openly. a teacher is waving around a pen when talking the other person is talking too much. We also tend to squint our eyes to reduce to students, students tend to look at the pen or glare when under the sun or simply tired. So, Staring is a prolonged gaze or fixed look that the object rather than focusing on the speech Some would use the rubbing of eyes as an when analysing body language, we shall have shows your interest in something. Staring at or the teacher. excuse to turn the head away. It doesn’t to consider the environment too. For example, a person also represents shock and disbelief matter how it’s done – such mechanisms when students attending a lecture feel tired, after unexpected news. Aggressive and As such, teachers and coachers can use a pen show the person no longer has any interest them lowering their eyelids is not really a affectionate stances can be achieved with as guidance when giving instructions. Students to continue communicating or staying on the squint. prolonged eye contact. can follow the instruction better when the same topics. teachers are pointing with a pen rather than GLANCING It is very strange for us to stare at another simply talking. Glancing or the flash look can be used to human being. We seldom stare at humans show a desire for a thing. For example, when because it is considered rude and it is as if we Besides, humans also keep watch on neutral you feel hungry, you will indirectly glance at dehumanise them. and feared objects because we try to observeDo you feel bored or no food. If you feel ready to leave the place, you and analyse if the object could turn into alonger interested in the would glance at the door to indicate the desire Some research report that staring is usually threat. conversation topics? to leave. reserved for non-persons. We stare at scenery, art, sculpture and animals. For WINKING Glancing at a person can indicate the interest example, when we visit a zoo, we’d like to stare A wink is one of the more subtle gestures to communicate with and talk to the person. at animals like monkeys, tigers and gorillas. achieved by briefly closing one eye and When we talk about others, we would often this gesture usually suggests conspiratorial glance at them unconsciously. It can also Some managers use the stare as the thoughts. Winking is always followed by a technique to manage their employees. This smile from the receiver if it is accepted or represent us caring for the person’s feeling is a mutually protective device. It allows approved. But be careful, looking away can also be for fear we might say something that could the employees to function efficiently in interpreted differently and one such example upset them. their overlapping universe without too While winking can be a slightly suggestive is when women tend to look away as a signal of much interference from managers while greeting and is reminiscent of a handshake, submission – especially when communicating Glancing may also represent the desire to it is different in some cultures – where winking allowing the staff to function fully without with someone whom they find attractive. look at something forbidden. For example, if acknowledging another fellow human. is interpreted as sexual interest! OH! 44 | JUL / AUG 2011 • OH! JUL / AUG 2011 • OH! | 45
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