Functions of gaze in social interaction: Communication and monitoring
- 359 Downloads
Hypotheses and assumptions on the intimacy regulating and the monitoring function of gaze were tested in three successive experiments. In a 2 (sex of the dyad) × 6 (order of the intimacy levels) × 3 (questions' intimacy level) factorial design 144 subjects were interviewed by a confederate who was either constantly looking into their eyes (experiment I), was constantly avoiding mutual gaze (experiment II) or showed varying looking behavior (experiment III). The data clearly revealed that the compensation hypothesis predicting an inverse relationship between gaze and topic intimacy has to be rejected. Intimacy regulation through gaze functions more via adaptation processes. Adaptation can also account for differences in gaze dependent upon the partner's looking behavior. The sequence hypothesis which predicted decreasing gaze with increasing predictability of the partner's behavior was confirmed.
It follows from these data that looking behavior has an internal structure with information receiving (regarding the partner's attentiveness and the ease of monitoring the interaction, monitoring function) more important in an encounter than information sending (communicative function); and—at least in the type of situation chosen—reactions towards situational conditions are primarily performed via adaptation processes.
KeywordsSocial Interaction Social Psychology Internal Structure Inverse Relationship Factorial Design
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- Abele, A., Spiller, H. Intimität des Themas und Blickverhalten. University of Bielefeld: Unpublished manuscript, 1980.Google Scholar
- Abele, A. Acquaintance and visual behavior between two interactants. Their communicative function for the impression formation of an observer.European Journal of Social Psychology, 1981,II, 409–425.Google Scholar
- Aiello, J.A. Visual interaction at extended distances.Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 1977, Vol.3(1, 83–86.Google Scholar
- Aiello, J.A. A test of equilibrium theory: Visual interaction in relation to orientation, distance and sex of interactants.Psychonomic Science, 1972,27, 335–336.Google Scholar
- Anderson, D. Eye contact, topic intimacy and equilibrium theory.The Journal of Social Psychology, 1976,100, 313–314.Google Scholar
- Argyle, M., Cook, M.Gaze and mutual gaze. Cambridge: University Press, 1976.Google Scholar
- Argyle, M., Dean, J. Eye contact, distance and affiliation.Sociometry, 1965,28, 289–304.Google Scholar
- Argyle, M., Ingham, R. Gaze, mutual gaze and proximity.Semiotica, 1972,6, 32–49.Google Scholar
- Coutts, L., Schneider, F. Visual behavior in an unfocused interaction as a function of sex and distance.Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 1975,11, 64–77.Google Scholar
- Duncan, St. jr., Fiske, D.W.Face-to-Face interaction: Research, methods and theory. Hillsdale, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Ass., 1977.Google Scholar
- Ellsworth, P., Ross, L. Intimacy in response to direct gaze.Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 1975,11, 592–613.Google Scholar
- Exline, R., Gray, G., Schuette, D. Visual behavior in a dyad as affected by interview content and sex of respondent.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1965,1, 201–209.Google Scholar
- Harper, R., Wiens, A., Matarazzo, J.Nonverbal communication: The state of the art. New York: Wiley, 1978.Google Scholar
- Heslin, R., Patterson, M.Nonverbal behavior and social psychology. New York: Plenum Press, 1982.Google Scholar
- Patterson, M.L. An arousal model of interpersonal intimacy.Psychological Review, 1976,83, 235–245.Google Scholar
- Rubin, Z. Measurements of romantic love.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 1970,16, 265–273.Google Scholar
- Schulz, R. Barefoot, J. Non-verbal responses and affiliative conflict theory.British Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 1974,13, 237–243.Google Scholar
- Sundstrom, E. A test of equilibrium theory: Effects of topic intimacy and proximity on verbal and nonverbal behavior in pairs of friends and strangers.Environmental Psychology and Nonverbal Behavior, 1978,3, 3–16.Google Scholar