The eyes are the windows to the soul. That’s why, when you know how to read someone’s eyes, you can understand what they are thinking. Our eyes can really tell a lot about us.
The eyes play a crucial role in our social interaction. Not only do they enable us to express our thoughts, moods, and emotions, it allows us to understand others as well. Eye behavior can help us read someone’s mind. This is why we make eye contact first whenever we meet someone.
What Eyes Can Tell You
Recent research has found that eyes are truly the windows to the soul as we can access adequate information about someone by simply looking at their eyes.
According to the Reading the Mind in the Eye Test (RMET) study in 2003 by Simon Baron-Cohen and colleagues associates at Cambridge University, U.K., humans have the ability to recognize inner states by observing another person’s eyes. It allows us to “detect subtle individual differences in social sensitivity.”
An article in The Week states, “Human eyes form a bridge between self and other by providing direct access to another person’s inner state.” However, this “phenomenon is unique to humans alone,” it adds.
Eyes Can Detect Lies
When you know how to read eyes, you can even determine if someone is lying to you or being honest. According to a 2009 study by Andrea Webb and associates at the University of Utah, a group of participants were asked to steal money and deny it.
Later researchers analyzed two groups – the original group that stole money and another group that did not steal any money. However, the researchers could identify which participants had stolen the money and lied about the theft simply by analyzing pupil dilation.
David Ludden, Ph.D., author, and professor of psychology at Georgia Gwinnett College, explains “We spend a lot of time looking at other people, especially at their faces. We’re also told to look other people in the eye when we speak to them, and we may feel awkward when a person we’re talking to keeps looking away.”
Ludden adds that psychologists Sebastiaan Mathôt and Stefan Van der Stigchel argue in an issue of Current Directions in Psychological Science that the size of our pupils can reveal a lot about the intentions and emotions of others.
This is because “pupil size isn’t under your voluntary control.” We can choose to fake a smile to show interest. We can mimic the motions of a real smile, but our pupils reveal our true emotions and lack of interest.
“The eyes may be the windows to the soul, but the pupils tell a lot about what’s going on in the mind of another person,” adds David Ludden.
How To Read Someone’s Eyes
When we know how to read eyes, unconscious eye movements can help us a lot to understand someone. According to Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP), this is known as eye accessing cues.
However, before we can understand how exactly we can analyze eye movements, we need to understand the importance of baselining.
National best-selling author Vanessa Van Edwards explains “The first step to figuring out if someone is lying to you is to find their baseline. A baseline is how someone acts when they are under normal, non-threatening conditions.”
After you have been able to determine a person’s baseline, you can analyze their eye movements and gestures which are mentioned below:
Understanding eye directions
The direction of our eyes can help us determine if someone is lying or being imaginative. Here are some basic natural movements that you can observe and analyze:
1. Upper left (Visual memory)
When someone looks at their upper left, it denotes that they are accessing a memory from the past. It means they are trying to remember something by accessing a visual memory.
2. Upper right (Visual construction)
When a person is looking upwards towards their right then it means they are trying to construct or create a visual image inside their mind. This denotes that the person is fabricating visuals in their mind to tell a lie. This is a good way to learn how to read someone’s eyes.
3. Lateral left (Sound memory)
Looking in this direction means that the person trying to remember a sound from their past memories, like recalling a joke. This can mean that the person is not being sincere and is simply reciting lines.
4. Lateral right (Sound construction)
Looking at the direction means the person is creating a particular sound in their mind. This eye movement can be observed when someone is making false claims about a conversation they had with another person.
5. Lower left (Inner dialogue)
When we have an internal discussion or debate, we usually tend to look at our lower left. This gesture denotes that someone is engaged in deep thought or self-inquiry or doubt.
6. Lower Right (Kinesthetic/Feeling)
When we try to recall a particular emotion associated with a past experience, we tend to look at the lower right. It denotes that we are digging deep into our emotions to relive the same feelings inside our minds.
7. Straight ahead
When a person’s eyes are looking straight ahead and their pupils are dilated or defocused, then it denotes that their mind is busy accessing sensory information in the fastest possible way.
However, this is usually applicable to right-handed people only. If you wish to observe and analyze a left-handed person, make sure to switch the sides respectively.
Understanding eye gestures
Here are some other ways you can learn how to read people’s eyes to understand what’s going on inside their minds:
1. Eye blocking
When someone is blocking or covering their eyes, then it means that they don’t like what they are looking at. Eye blocking is a strong non-verbal display of dislike. This often happens when someone is repulsed or disgusted by something. Eye blocking is a reaction to discomfort and a powerful manifestation of disagreement and disbelief.
Former FBI Counterintelligence Agent and author Joe Navarro explain, “Eye blocking is just one of the more obvious things that we do. When we are troubled, frustrated, or struggling with something emotionally, our eyelids may also close hard and remain closed, or the eyelids may flutter rapidly as an expression of our sentiment.”
Pupillometry refers to the measurement of pupil size and reactivity. When a person looks at something visually stimulating, their pupils dilate. This can also happen in low light as well. When we like what we see, pupils dilate to absorb more information about the pleasing visuals.
Observing someone’s pupils can help you know if they are aroused and enjoying something or not. Understanding pupillometry is crucial for learning how to read eyes.
The narrowing of a person’s eyes is often due to emotional or physical pain. Squinting can also denote evaluation, consideration, or tiredness.
However, some people can squint to indicate that they do not enjoy your company or dislike you. Moreover, people may also squint under low light conditions.
Looking at a person or a thing indicates an interest. Gazing is usually considered an intimate activity. We often gaze at someone’s face who we find attractive or interesting.
We can either gaze at their eyes, their face, or have a defocused gaze to look at someone in general. If someone gazes at your eyes, then it denotes romantic interest or love whereas gazing at someone’s body often means lust.
This is why it is important to consider where the eyes of a person are focused. If they are generally gazing at you, then it means they are observing you and your personality. This could also be done in a threatening or insulting manner.
There are mainly 3 types of gazing:
- Social gazing
- Intimate gazing
- Power gazing
5. Sideways glance
This eye movement primarily indicates that the person is uncertain about something or looking for more information about a specific topic.
Author Vanessa Van Edwards explains “If someone is sideways glancing and also has a furrowed brow, it can indicate suspicion or critical feelings. A sideways glance with eyebrows up, on the other hand, usually indicates interest or is a sign of courtship.”
6. Looking down at nose
When a person looks down at their nose while talking to you, then it means that the person believes they are better and superior to you.
This denotes that the person is treating you with disrespect. Vanessa adds “If someone lifts their head and looks down their nose at you, it usually means they feel superior.”
7. Darting eyes
If the eyes of a person dart from side to side then it denotes that they are not comfortable and mentally planning to escape the situation. Darting eyes can also mean feeling insecure in a situation.
If you notice someone exhibiting such behavior while conversing, then it means either they are bored or they feel insecure in the conversation.
8. Persistent eye contact
Another way to learn how to read eyes for emotions is to understand the principles of eye contact. Constant eye contact is a sign of intimidation. It is often made to study the other person and make them feel uncomfortable.
Persistent eye contact between humans and non-humans is also considered an indication of threat and defense. Such eye behavior can also be an effort to deceive someone as it can also be a sign of over-awareness and lying.
Related: Mind Reading: Six Easy Ways To Do It
9. Evasive eye contact
This is a sign of discomfort. When a person is trying to avoid looking at you then they may either be hiding something, feeling ashamed or guilty, being dishonest, or trying to deceive you.
They may also be afraid of you or dislike you which is why they avoid eye contact.
Apart from our instinctive need, blinking can often be influenced by our thoughts and emotions regarding the person we are interacting with. The blink rate can change subconsciously depending on who we are talking with.
If someone blinks over 6-10 in a minute on average while talking to you, then it can denote that the person is attracted to you.
Apart from this, our blink rate can increase when we are stressed or engaged in overthinking. This can also be an indication of lying. However, a single random blink can also denote surprise.
In most cultures across the world, winking is considered to be a form of playful flirting. Winking can also denote that you are teasing or joking with someone as well and is usually a friendly gesture.
However, few Asian cultures do not approve of this eye gesture.
12. Damp eyes
Dampness in the eyes can indicate emotional pain, feeling overwhelmed, and suppressed emotions like sadness, fear, and anxiety. It may also denote that the individual is coping with something mentally and emotionally traumatizing and has cried recently.
Damp eyes may also be a sign of exhaustion. This is a subtle gesture that you need to understand when learning how to read eyes for love.
This occurs when we are focused on something or someone with minimal blinking. By giving prolonged attention to the subject, we denote our interest in it. We may stare with different intentions like deception, affection, and even aggression.
Contrarily, prolonged eye contact may also signify absent-mindedness. When we are lost in deep thought our sight may be fixated on something. In this case, our eyes are defocused and the object of the stare is irrelevant. On the other hand, a short stare may indicate surprise.
“Staring directly into someone’s eyes causes an arousal reaction,” explains Ronald E. Riggio, Ph.D., professor of leadership and organizational psychology at Claremont McKenna College. He adds “How that arousal is interpreted, however, depends on the parties involved and the circumstances. Being stared at by a stranger who appears large or ominous can be seen as a threat and elicit a fear response.”
Reading Eyes To Understand Others
Knowing how to read eyes can be very advantageous for all of us. Eye cues can be an exceptional tool for us to read and understand someone to know if that person is a friend or foe.
“The eyes serve as conduits of information we have relied on for thousands of years. We rely on them because of their accuracy,” adds former FBI Agent Joe Navarro.
When you master the skill of reading eyes, you will be better able to negotiate your way through your social life. It also allows us to communicate and cooperate better with our friends and partners by gaining access to their thoughts and emotions.
Eyes are not just windows into the soul, but also to the mind.
Want to know more about how to read someone’s eyes? Check this video out below!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can you know a person by their eyes?
Yes, you can know a person and understand their thoughts and feelings just by looking at their eyes. Eye contact can be highly accurate when it comes to determining emotions such as anger, sadness, fear, and even love.
Can you see emotions in eyes?
When you look at someone’s eyes, you can clearly see what they are feeling, and what kind of emotions might be running around in their mind.
Can you see love in eyes?
Yes, you can. Attraction and love can be easily seen in someone’s eyes.