Crazy rabbit, Trix are for kids!
But, there are no tricks here. Researchers at Cornell University found that adults felt almost a 30% increase in brand trust when selecting a box of cereal with the rabbit looking out instead of away. Making eye-contact with even a two-dimensional fictitious character can have quite an impact. Imagine what happens when you look into the eyes of someone important to you!
New parents learn quickly that sometimes prefacing their instructions with “Look at me!” is the only way to get their rambunctious son to stop throwing sand at the beach. The ear has 30,000 nerve fibers. The eye, 1,000,000. That increases the chances of capturing proper attention by nearly two orders of magnitude!
The eyes carry a wealth of information that dramatically informs the conversation. It helps you determine mood, honesty, intention, comfort and a wealth of other vital indicators. Good and honest eye contact is just a basic part of clear communication.
Actors generally don’t like performing with their face covered for this very reason. Miranda Otto, who played the nazgul-slaying heroine in "Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King," requested a helmet redesign because she felt the narrow eye slits, perhaps more practical from a combat standpoint, nonetheless created a barrier between the audience and her most powerful dramatic tool. Unveiling her eyes helped broadcast to the audience the heroic grit and tenacity she wielded to help save Middle-Earth!
Even eyes disassociated from any semblance of a living thing can have a significant impact on our behavior. A 2006 study from the Netherlands discovered a mechanism they call the “cues of being watched.” University students were asked to pay whatever they wanted for coffee and tea in the common room. One box was labeled with images of flowers, another with images of eyes. The box with the eyes convinced people to pay almost three times as much than that of the flowers.
Similarly, a study by the International Journal for Behavioral Biology placed googly eyes on one of two donation buckets. The bucket with the eyes led to a 50% increase in donations!
It’s been said, “Looking into someone’s eyes changes the entire conversation.” It’s hard not to be effected. Eyes are our primary source of information about the outside world. So, the next time you are talking to a peer, client, boss or room full of stranger, look them in the eye and let them know they have your complete attention!