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

It causes out of body experiences and even hallucinations.

woman's face Getty Images

You don’t even need drugs to get high anymore — just a close friend who doesn’t mind staring into your eyes for 10 minutes straight.

Looking into someone’s eyes can give you a whole mess of different feelings. If it’s the person you love, you probably get some butterflies when they look at you. If it’s a stranger staring at you, you probably feel a little creeped out.

Eye contact is powerful and reveals a lot more about us than we might even realize. It’s safe to say you’ve never held someone’s gaze for longer than a few fleeting seconds — in fact,  the “correct” amount of eye contact before it gets too uncomfortable is 3.3 seconds.


RELATED: 5 Things You Can Learn Just By Looking Someone In The Eye

But what happens when you stare at someone for about 9 minutes and 57 seconds longer than that?

Hallucinations and a dissociative state, according to this 2015 study. So if you're looking for how to get high without drugs, it looks like some eye contact is all you need.

The study, carried out by Giovanni B. Caputo from the University of Urbino in Italy, brought together 20 people (15 of which were women) in low light, which “allowed detailed perception of the fine face traits but attenuated color perception,” according to Caputo.


He then asked the 10 pairs to stare at each other in the eyes for 10 minutes. Caputo also employed a control group of 20 people who faced the wall instead of another person.

After the 10 minutes was up, participants in both groups reported their experiences using questionnaires that asked about potential dissociative states as well as their partner’s face, revealing that those in the group of people looking into each other’s eyes were more likely to experience “dissociative symptoms, dysmorphic face perceptions, and hallucination-like strange-face apparitions.”

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Dissociation happens when a person disconnects from reality. While dissociative symptoms typically vary, for those in the study symptoms included “reduced color intensity, sounds seeming quieter or louder than expected, becoming spaced out, and time seeming to drag on.” The “strange face apparitions,” on the other hand, included deformed facial traits, monsters, aspects of their own face in their partner’s face, or a relative’s face.


Hmm, sure sounds a lot like tripping on acid.

According to Caputo, the strange symptoms may have to do with “the rebound to ‘reality' from a dissociative state induced by sensory deprivation.” He surmised that the “strange face apparitions” were caused by “psychodynamic projections of the subject׳s unconscious meanings into the other’s face.”

Drugs affect everyone differently, and I would never personally recommend doing any drug that is not currently legal in the place you reside. However, as far as I know, looking into someone’s eyes has yet to be outlawed, so proceed at your own risk.


RELATED: Falling In Love Is JUST Like Being High On Cocaine, Study Says

Micki Spollen is a YourTango editor, writer, and traveler. Follow her on Instagram and keep up with her travels on her website.