top of page

The value of eye-contact

I remember the first time I saw my Family Doctor at my HMO for a routine checkup after his secretary had been fired and he needed to type my info in... all by himself. He usually had a warm smile, was calm and calming and gracefully accepted my natural medicine health choices. But from this day on, he became uptight, looking at his index finger trying to land on the correct space on the keyboard. I could have been Princess Di sitting in front of him, or just plain ‘ol me and he wouldn’t have noticed the difference.

When learning to #workfromhome, new apps, algorithms,documents, zooms, etc., draw our attention even though most of us are much more comfortable with our laptops and our keyboards than my MD was then. Our eyes and ears are on our screens and we often miss out on eye contact with our family or even with our on-screen work partners, when trying to look at them while answering whatsapps.


Last year, a group of Japanese researchers wanted to observe the human brain with the help of fMRI's, to see what was special about eye-contact. They stated that: "Real-time eye contact generates an emergent property of shared attention, which is mediated by a cerebello cerebral network inclusive of the limbic mirror system. Real-time eye contact allows forinterbrain synchronization"*. Simply said, eye-contact allows for that unique sense of joining and engagement which is then followed by connection. We dance to the same music when we look into each other's eyes.

In my private practice I often witness a couple sitting together on the couch in front of me, sharing information. They share a completely different level of connection and intimacy when they look in my direction and say things like: “She really works hard” or “He is really great with the kids” versus what happens in the room when looking in each other's eyes they say the exact same words. Emotion has a freeway to travel on, when a partner looks into your eyes and says: "you really work so hard", "you are so great with the kids".

 Looking in people’s eyes is a great proven practice of connection. It is also #loveffective. With Covid-19 masks on face, we are challenged to practice it... even more.


Eye-contact: why is it so special Research

bottom of page