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ERIC Number: ED166714
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1978-Aug
Pages: 19
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
The Perception of Eye Contact: Two Experiments on Black-White Differences.
van den Berg, Sjef; Gilliam, Harold
Two experiments were conducted to test the contention that the extent to which an individual maintains eye contact is differentially interpreted by different cultural groups. In the first experiment, 30 black and 30 white male subjects individually engaged in 15-minute conversations with a black male research confederate. In half of the conversations, the confederate maintained eye contact for approximately 50% of the time; in the other half, he avoided eye contact. After the conversations, the subjects completed questionnaires designed to measure how comfortable they felt during the conversation and to gauge their perception of the attention level of the confederate. The results showed that when the black confederate maintained a "normal" level of eye contact, both black and white subjects rated him as being attentive and reported feeling comfortable interacting with him. However, when the confederate avoided eye contact, white subjects rated him significantly lower in attentiveness and reported feeling significantly less comfortable. Black subjects, on the other hand, rated the confederate similarly under either condition. The second experiment replicated the first, with the exception that a white male confederate was used. The results showed significant differences between the "normal" eye contact and no eye contact conditions for white subjects on the attentiveness measure while black subjects showed essentially the same patterns of results as in the first experiment. (FL)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A