Eye Contact Evokes Blushing Independently of Negative Affect
- 711 Downloads
To determine whether eye contact elicits blushing due to anxiety, forehead blood flow was measured during a stressful quiz and self-disclosure. The investigator maintained eye contact with 19 participants whereas, in another 40 cases, the investigator and/or participant wore sunglasses or the investigator left the room (the control group). Anxiety, embarrassment, and forehead blood flow increased in both groups during the quiz, consistent with anxiety-evoked blushing. However, during self-disclosure, increases in forehead blood flow were greater in the eye contact than control group despite reductions in embarrassment and anxiety. These findings suggest that eye contact augments blushing over and above any influence of anxiety or general scrutiny during self-disclosure.
KeywordsBlushing Anxiety Embarrassment Scrutiny Eye contact
We wish to thank Dr Anna Cuomo-Granston for expert technical assistance.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
- Darwin, C. (1872/1965). The expression of the emotions in man and animals. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
- Drummond, P. D. (2013). Psychophysiology of the blush. In W. Ray Crozier & P. J. de Jong (Eds.), The psychological significance of the blush (pp. 15–38). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Ting, W., & Fricchione, G. (2006). The heart-mind connection: How emotions contribute to heart disease and what to do about it. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar