From the Editor; January / February 2010; Scientific American Mind; by Mariette DiChristina; 1 Page(s)
Is there anything more powerful in human society than a steady gaze? I once, for instance, completely flustered and enraged a careless driver who nearly ran over my then toddler and stroller-riding infant daughters and me as she rolled into a gas station simply by calmly staring at her. I didn’t say a word or make a gesture. “What are you looking at?!” she yelled. It’s no wonder, actually: humans are so visually oriented and so social as a species, it would be surprising if we did not respond to the looks of others.
Peering into each other’s eyes, then, naturally has a strong influence on that most social of activities: creating a personal, shared bond as we fall in love with another. As psychologist and contributing editor Robert Epstein writes in the cover story, “How Science Can Help You Fall in Love,” the relationship-cementing effect of mutual gazing is well documented by researchers. Epstein relates some fascinating examples of his experiences with study subjects and others in his thought-provoking article. Who says science isn’t sexy?