This isn’t going well – she looks right through him.

This isn’t going well – she looks right through him.

Research shows us that a steady stare of more than ten seconds creates anxiety and discomfort especially in subordinates. When done on more dominant individuals it can lead to feelings of aggression and in extreme cases, even physical altercations. Staring is only permitted while looking at inanimate objects (and celebrities). By holding an extended or even unblinking gaze toward strangers, we are telling them that we think of them no more important than objects, a phenomenon celebrities know only too well.

Staring, on the other hand, is unmoving. The eyes are piercing and intense, unblinking, and seem to want to penetrate the eyes of another. An aggressive stare is even more intense and happens by narrowing the eyelids creating a deep focus. Second to the unblinking eyes is the “slow blink”. This one can be imagined, but must really be seen to understand its true intensity. While a slow blink done with a tilt of the head can appear alluring, it does nothing to arouse positive emotions when done head-on. The slow blink is intensified by tilted the head forward revealing the crown, and especially intense when the head is tilted backwards while looking down at an opponent “through” the bridge of the nose. The final cue in the slow blink cue cluster is pursed lips and the cue cluster, as a whole, signals disapproval and contempt.

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