Research Interests

Research Interests


I am interested in how eye contact influences our attention, memory and ability to connect with others. More specifically, I would like to explore whether eye contact could be used in educational settings to enhance student learning. For example, when teachers make eye contact, do students retain information better than when they do not? Further, I hope to better understand how our personality, relationships and context influence whether eye contact is benefical or not during our learning experiences. For example, why are some students more attentive and receptive to eye contact than others? Are there contexts in which eye contact may actually hinder learning rather than enhancing it?

 

Ongoing projects


  • Does eye contact facilitate memory for verbal information? The present research is grounded in the finding that participants remember more information when speakers periodically make eye contact with them than when they do not. At first blush these experiments seem to suggest that eye contact enhances memory. However, it is equally probable (and perhaps even likely) that instead of eye contact enhancing memory, the avoidance of eye contact could reduce memory. I am currently conducting a series of experiments to clarify exactly how eye contact influences memory.
  • Do perceived and actualy eye contact have different effects of attention and memory? Recent research has demonstrated that use of photographs rather than real people could have a profound impact on social communication and information processing. For example, non-verbal behaviours, such as eye contact, displayed in an image or video tend to have less influence over communication than they typically do during an encounter with a live person. The present study aimed to determine whether the presence of another person and the possibility of an interaction is required for eye contact to influence our memory.
  • How does exclusion from eye contact affect our memory?  We are more likely to remember what someone says when they are making eye contact with us while they say it. What happens when someone avoids making eye contact with us in favour of making eye contact with someone else? Does the exclusion from eye contact effect our ability to remember what they say? A series of studies seek to better understand how eye can include or exclude us from social exchange when multiple people are present in a learning setting, and how this inclusion/exclusion can influences our ability to remember information