A new study from the University of Tampere, Finland found that eye contact can make us act more honestly.
Psychologists at the University of Tampere investigated the effect of another’s direct gaze on lying in an interactive experiment. In the experiment, participants played a lying game on a computer against another person. On each game trial, participants were first briefly presented with a view of the opponent through a smart glass window, after which they made a move in the game. Depending on the trial, the opponent either looked the participant in the eyes or downward toward their computer screen. The opponent’s direct gaze was found to reduce subsequent lying in the game.
The effect of watching eyes on dishonesty has also been previously investigated, but only with the use of eye images.
The results have practical implications for both everyday and professional situations, such as police interrogations. However, because the results were obtained in an experimental situation, one must be careful not to draw too far-reaching conclusions.