5 Things You Can Learn About Someone Just By Looking Them In The Eye

The eyes always have it.

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There has been considerable research on how body language, particularly those coming from eye contact, affects our behavior. It's actually quite astounding just how powerful eye contact can be. 

Eye contact is so important that science has actually been studying it for many years and they continue to find out more about just how powerful it is. The eyes can give away so much and when we make eye contact with someone, it can have an impact on how we view that person.


We can even make assumptions about someone's personality, or even what they could be thinking based on the way that they make eye contact with us.

So, what are some common things you can find out just by looking into someone's eyes? 

RELATED: The Bizarre Thing That Happens When You Stare Into Someone's Eyes For 10 Minutes

Here are 5 interesting results:

1. If someone is sexually attracted to you

Staring directly into someone’s eyes causes an arousal reaction. How that arousal is interpreted, however, depends on the parties involved and the circumstances.

Being stared at by a stranger who appears large or ominous can be seen as a threat and elicit a fear response. This is common in social animals. A direct stare from a human to a dog or an ape can be interpreted as a threat from the large (and strange) human.


Eye contact has also been found to be somewhat linked to social anxiety. However, the gaze of a potential sexual partner causes arousal that can be interpreted positively — as a sexual invitation or a clear sign of interest.

2. If a smile is real or not

Psychologist Paul Ekman has distinguished between smiles that represent genuine happiness (“Duchenne” smiles), and fake smiles that might be used to feign happiness, or cover some other emotion.

The key to telling a fake smile from a real one is in the eyes. When forming real smiles, the eyes narrow and create lines, or “crow’s feet,” at the outer corners.

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3. If someone is interested in you

When we are interested in something or someone, our pupils will dilate. Some research has even found that men rate a woman who has larger pupils as more attractive than women with fuller irises.   

4. If you're in love

Research on love and attraction has found that a mutual gaze — staring into each other’s eyes — is a good predictor of two individuals being “in love.” Eye contact could be a very important part of dating.

The research discovered that even those who were already a couple found that when they continued to have eye contact with their partner, they had a greater affection and feeling of passionate love between them.

5. If someone is lying

Everyone assumes that a liar won’t look you in the eye, but research on the nonverbal cues associated with deception suggests that a liar engages in more eye contact than a truth-teller.


The explanation is that the deceiver goes the extra mile to try to convince you of his or her veracity and so “overdoes” the eye contact in order to appear truthful.

RELATED: Science Reveals How To Tell If A Guy Or Girl Likes You By Reading One Aspect Of Their Body Language

Ronald E. Riggio, Ph.D., is the Henry R. Kravis Professor of Leadership and Organizational Psychology at Claremont McKenna College.