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4 Ways to Use Eye Contact to Your Advantage

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Mom may have been onto something: Looking someone in the eyes can help establish trust, according to a new study published in Psychological Science.

Researchers at the University of Amsterdam found that when we look into a someone's eyes, we have a tendency to mimic the size of their pupils (um, cool). Although we have no voluntary control over this, the change holds the power to seriously impact the social decisions we make with that person, like how much we trust them. Talk about the power of good eye contact! (Turns out, you can learn a lot from your eyes. Find out What Your Eye Exam Says About Your Health.)

But this isn't the only way eye contact influences our behavior and the way people perceive us. So break out your best mascara and flutter those lashes to reap these four additional benefits of eye contact ASAP.

Your Eyes Can Find You Love
Forget a dazzling smile or a rugged jawline. A team of psychologists at Aberdeen University in Scotland found that people were more likely to find someone attractive if they were making eye contact than if the person was averting their gaze. It turns out, locking eyes with someone taps into our narcissistic side. We like people who like us and since eye contact is a sign of interest, we're more likely to be into someone who we think is, well, into us too. (That explains why eye contact is one of the 8 Ways to Fake Looking Like a Pro in Bed.)

You'll Gain a Better Sense of Self
Ever heard that eyes are the windows to your soul? According to science, they really are—or at least we behave as if that's the case. In a 2014 study published in the journal Cognition, researchers found that when someone makes intentional eye contact with you, you're likely to become acutely self-aware. The reason is pretty cool: Even though, intellectually, we know that someone can't read your thoughts just by looking at you, direct eye contact makes us feel as though they can. Talk about creating vulnerability.

You Might Be Able to Catch a Liar
According to a study published in the Journal on Nonverbal Behavior, someone who's trying to trick you into believing them will actually make more eye contact than a truth teller. Why? Since most of us know the common belief is that we avert someone's gaze when lying, we tend to overcompensate—and hold an intense gaze during a fib—to trick the person we're talking to. Deliberate eye contact, then, can be our attempt to make ourselves more believable, researchers say.

Locking Eyes Can Make You More Memorable
Want to leave your mark on someone's mind? Hold their gaze, researchers say. According to a study published in the journal of Applied Ergonomics, eye contact helps us recall messages more easily. If you have something important to tell someone—like reasons an interviewer should hire you or why your best friend is so amazing when she needs a pep talk—stare into their eyes when you speak. Researchers found that the person receiving your message is more likely to remember your words if you're staring directly at them when you speak. (Need more brain-boosting tips? These 5 Tricks to Improve Memory Immediately will help.)


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