Journal of Nonverbal Behavior

, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp 133–146 | Cite as

Effects of gaze on hiring, credibility, attraction and relational message interpretation

  • Judee K. Burgoon
  • Valerie Manusov
  • Paul Mineo
  • Jerold L. Hale

Abstract

Two competing models of the social meaning and effects of eye gaze exist. One holds that different levels of eye gaze have clearly identifiable meanings that will yield main effects on such communication outcomes as hiring and interpersonal evaluations. The other holds that deviant levels of eye gaze are ambiguous in meaning and that interpretation depends on contextual cues such as the reward value of the violator. An experiment required 140 Ss to serve as interviewers during a structured interview in which six confederate interviewees sytematically varied three levels of eye gaze (high, normal, low) and two levels of reward (highly qualified, highly unqualified for the advertised position). Results favored a social meaning model over a violations of expectations model: Subjects were more likely to hire and rate as credible and attractive interviewees who maintained a normal or high degree of gaze than those who averted gaze. Interpretations given to higher amounts of gaze were more intimacy and similarity, more immediacy and involvement, and more composure, informality and nonarousal.

“The eyes of men converse as much as their tongues, with the advantage that the ocular dialect needs no dictionary, but is understood the world over.”

—Ralph Waldo Emerson

“These lovely lamps, these windows of the soul.”

—Guillaume de Salluste

“And I have known the eyes already, known them all—The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase ...”

—T.S. Eliot

References

  1. Andersen, J.F., Andersen, P.A., & Jensen, A.D. The measurement of immediacy.Journal of Applied Communication Research 1979,7 13–180.Google Scholar
  2. Argyle, M.The psychology of interpersonal behavior (2nd ed.. London: Penguin Books, 1972.Google Scholar
  3. Argyle, M., & Dean, J. Eye contact, distance, and affiliation.Sociometry 1965,28 289–304.Google Scholar
  4. Beebe, S.A. Effects of eye contact, posture and vocal inflection upon credibility and comprehension.Australian SCAN: Journal of Human Communication 1980,7 57–70.Google Scholar
  5. Burgoon, J.K. A communication model of personal space violations: Explication and an initial test.Human Communication Research 1978,4 129–142. (a)Google Scholar
  6. Burgoon, J.K. Attributes of the newscaster's voice as predictors of his credibility.Journalism Quarterly 1978,55 276–281, 300. (b)Google Scholar
  7. Burgoon, J.K., & Aho, L. Three field experiments on the effects of violations of conversational distance.Communication Monographs 1982,49 71–88.Google Scholar
  8. Burgoon, J.K., Buller, D.B., Hale, J.L., & deTurck, M.A. Relational messages associated with nonverbal behaviors.Human Communication Research 1984,10 351–378.Google Scholar
  9. Burgoon, J.K., & Hale, J.L.Dimensions of relational messages. Paper presented at the Speech Communication Association Convention, Anaheim (November, 1981).Google Scholar
  10. Burgoon, J.K., & Jones, S.B. Toward a theory of personal space expectations and their violations.Human Communication Research 1976,2 131–146.Google Scholar
  11. Burgoon, J.K., Stacks, D.W., & Burch, S.A. The role of nonverbal violations of expectations in interpersonal influence.Communication 1982,11 114–128.Google Scholar
  12. Burgoon, J.K., Stacks, D.W., & Woodall, G.W. A communicative model of violations of distancing expectations.Western Journal of Speech Communication 1979,43 153–167.Google Scholar
  13. Ellsworth, P.C., & Langer, E.J. Staring and approach: An interpretation of the stare as a non-specific activator.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 1976,33 117–122.Google Scholar
  14. Exline, R. Explorations in the process of person perception: Visual interaction in relation to competition, sex, and need for affiliation.Journal of Personality 1963,31 1–20.Google Scholar
  15. Fromme, D., & Bean, D. Dominance and sex differences in nonverbal responses to differential eye contact.Journal of Research in Personality 1974,8 76–87.Google Scholar
  16. Goldberg, G.N., Kiesler, C.A., & Collins, B.E. Visual behavior and face-to-face distance during interaction.Sociometry 1969,32 43–53.Google Scholar
  17. Hale, J.L., & Burgoon, J.K. Models of reactions to changes in nonverbal immediacy. Paper presented to the Second International Conference in Social Psychology and Language, Bristol, UK., 1983.Google Scholar
  18. LaFrance, M., & Mayo, C.Moving bodies: Nonverbal communication in social relationships. Monterey, CA: Brooks/Cole., 1978.Google Scholar
  19. McCroskey, J.C., Jensen, T., & Valencia, C. Measurement of the credibility of peers and spouses. Paper presented to the International Communication Association convention, Montreal, 1973.Google Scholar
  20. McCroskey, J.C., & McCain, T.A. The measurement of interpersonal attraction.Speech Monographs 1974,41 261–266.Google Scholar
  21. McCroskey, J.C., & Wright, D.W. The development of an instrument for measuring interaction behavior in small groups.Speech Monographs 1971,38 335–340.Google Scholar
  22. Mehrabian, A.Silent messages. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 1971.Google Scholar
  23. Moore, H.T., & Gilliland, A.R. The measurement of aggressiveness.Journal of Applied Psychology 1921,5 97–118.Google Scholar
  24. Patterson, M.L. Compensation in nonverbal immediacy behaviors: A review.Sociometry 1973,36 237–252.Google Scholar
  25. Patterson, M.L. An arousal model of interpersonal intimacy.Psychological Review 1976, 83, 235–245.Google Scholar
  26. Snyder, R.A., & Sutker, L.W. The measurement of the construct of dominance and its relation to nonverbal behavior.Journal of Psychology 1977,97 227–230.Google Scholar
  27. Stacks, D.W., & Burgoon, J.K. The role of nonverbal behaviors as distractors in resistance to persuasion in interpersonal contexts.Central States Speech Journal 1981,23 61–73.Google Scholar
  28. Thayer, S. The effects of interpersonal looking duration on dominance judgments.Journal of Social Psychology 1969,79 285–286.Google Scholar
  29. Thayer, S., & Schiffe, W. Observer judgment of social interaction: Eye contact relationship inferences.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 1974,30 110–114.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Judee K. Burgoon
    • 1
  • Valerie Manusov
    • 2
  • Paul Mineo
    • 3
  • Jerold L. Hale
    • 4
  1. 1.the University of ArizonaTucson
  2. 2.Polytechnic College in SheffieldEngland
  3. 3.Michigan State UniversityEast Lansing
  4. 4.Miami UniversityOxford

Personalised recommendations