There has been considerable research on how nonverbal cues, particularly those coming from the eyes, affects our behavior.
Here are 5 interesting results:
1. Eye-to-Eye Contact Causes Arousal.
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. However, the gaze of a potential sexual partner causes arousal that can be interpreted positively—as a sexual invitation.
2. The Eyes Will Tell You 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.