Title: Eye-contact phenomena related to choice of partner and aggressive/passive role playing
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00098408/00001
 Material Information
Title: Eye-contact phenomena related to choice of partner and aggressive/passive role playing
Physical Description: iii, 39 . : illus. ; 28cm.
Language: English
Creator: Kersey, Joseph Francis, 1939-
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville
Publication Date: 1969
Copyright Date: 1969
Subject: Interpersonal relations   ( lcsh )
Role playing   ( lcsh )
Psychology thesis Ph. D   ( lcsh )
Dissertations, Academic -- Psychology -- UF   ( lcsh )
Genre: non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Thesis: Thesis - University of Florida.
Bibliography: Bibliography: . 37-38.
General Note: Manuscript copy.
General Note: Vita.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00098408
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: alephbibnum - 000125116
oclc - 01562290
notis - AAP1082


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The writer would like to thank the individual members of his

committee: Drs. Madeline Carey-Ramuy, Richard Anderson, Vernon Van

de Riet, and Herschel Elliott. Especial thanks to his chairman,

Dr. Marvin E. Shaw, for his understanding as well as his more technical


Further acknowledgment to Misses Frances I!aemmerlie, Jean Russo,

Jane Harper, and Janis Vincent; to Messrs. Gil Betz, Tom Bowman, Barry

master, and Joe Mathis without whose aid as experimental confederates

the mechanics of this dissertation could not have been accomplished.

Finally, an expression of gratitude to Allan Lind whose aid made

the data collection temporally feasible.



List of Tables

Chapter I

Chapter II

Chapter III




Experiment One:

E:xpcriment T .o:





methodd and Results

tlethod and Results

Appendix A


Si o tIrapl



Table 1 Choice of Future Partner Frequencies
Obtained from Same-Sex (Male or Female)
Panel Conditions 21

Table 2 Chi-square Summary Table for Same-Sex
Panel Conditions 22

Table 3 Choice of Future Partner Frequencies Ob-
tained from Mixed-Sex (Male and Female)
Panel Conditions 23

Table 4 Chi-squares Obtained from Analyses of Six
Intervening Mixed-Sex Panel Conditions 24

Table 5 Mean Millimeters of Event Recorded In-
scription Measuring Time Subjects Made
Eye-contact Available to Target Person 25

Table 6 Analysis of Variance Summary Table for
Millimeters of Inscription Measuring
Time Subjects Made Eye-Contact Available
to Target Person 26

Table 7 Mean Millimeters of Event Recorded In-
scription Measuring Time Subjects Made
Eye-Contact Available to Target Person 27

Table 8 Analysis of Variance Summary Table for
Millimeters of Inscription Measuring
Time Subjects Made Eye-Contact Available
to Target Person 28



A definitive provision of -o-ial performance is that it takes

place within the confines of the interrelated behavior of two or more

individuals whose behavior is not solely determined by the wishes of a

single person. That che idiosyncrjLic behavior of the individuals

can be interrelated supplies the bar-, for, or basis of, social per-

formance. As Argyle and Kendon (l'07) pointed out, . /individ-

uals/ must be able to agree as co what the encounter is about, who is

dominant, who is submissive, they rnus igrce upon the level of inti-

macy; and there must be coordinatii,'' in terms of emotionality and

the patterning of actions in time," (p.. 59).

It is readily apparent that t-*e above adjustments may come about

only by the transmission of signal or cues (information) between the con

fronting individuals. How is this ci,-ns-iission accomplished? The

answers range from the ob"ious--che. tell each other--to the abstruse

(Goffman, 1959, 1963). One method Of transmitting this information

which long has been popular wich pocr.s and writers las been the

"message of the eyes." Or,stated in the accepted academic terminol-

ogy, that of eye-contacc.

A great deal of effort has be..-e' devoted to the demonstration of

eye-c")ntact as a behavioral variable within social p.-rformance. Simmel

(1921) has stated that one's desire for union with another determines

whether a one-way or mutual glance is used in establishing communica-

tion. Tomkin's (1963) discussion of taboos of mutual looking suggests

that the emotional involvement implicit in a mutual glance (particu-

larly of a sexual nature) will, under certain circumstances, inhibit--

or encourage--the desire to become involved. This inhibition effect

may be found within many animal studies concerned with dominance and

aggression (Devore, 1965). Exline and his associates (Exline, 1963;

Exline & Eldridge, 1965; Exline & Winters, 1965; Exline, Gray & Schuette,

1965) have lent generous support to the notion that the amount of eye-

contact (attempted and accomplished) is related to the orientation a

person holds toward his situation or companionss. )Exline and Winter

(1965) note, ". one observes another's visual behavior and infers.

we believe, the degree and affective sign of the other's involvement

in a momentary interpersonal relationship . or learns from the

behavior of the other's eyes something of the other's desire, willing-

ness, or ability to relate emotionally to another" (p. 320).

SIt would se.'m, then, that enough thought ani evidence exists to

consider eye-contact as a meaningful variable within social perform-

ance. However, a distinction in non-verbal acts such as eye-contact

has been made by Ekman (1965). His system classifies an act as an

indicator or a communicator. Essentially, the indicator focuses

attention upon the sender and the communicator focuses upon the re-

ceiver. Perhaps the terminology of information sending and receiving

is more descriptive. The previously mentioned research has focused

on the receiving or interpretation of eye-contact and as yet fully

failed to ask the question of whether subjects will use eye-contact

to elicit effects chac hav.c b.:en established prev'.io'is ly by manipulat-

ing the amount of eye-contact. l.iac, chen, have some normal pacttrns

of eve-contact found to be? 1..hen engaged in normal conversation two

people will engage in mutual eye-contact on an intermittent basis.

The percentage of che time chat cwo people will share this Trutual ?lanct:

,.ill usua llv fall between 5 and 30 percent of the tim- (Argyle, [967;

E:.line & Winters, 1965). This percentage of eye-contact is established

by each individual looking non-mutually at the other between 30 and 60

percent of the total time In an unpublished study Cathc.rt, Ker.ey,

Breed, Garcia, Rubin, and Wells (1968) found consistent individual

patterns of mutual eye-conr.act percentages well above 70) percent.

Argyle (1967) has also noti.i the close interrelation between eye-

contact and the pattern of speech taking place. People seem to look

more uhen li;teniig than 1..-il transmitting information T.hei e.;laice,

or "looking beha.,ior" tends to be longer and their a'- ay-glances or

"avoidance behavior," arc shorter in duration. When a person is pre-

paring to speak, he uill glance away from the person :.'ho is the object

of his message; at che end of sentences or natural break.s I,--- glances

briefl-, at the other person, and at the te r-ination of hi, comur-unica-

Lion he uill give a longer gaze. The listener will at the same time

be giving glances that are much longer (Kendon, 1965).

Along with the information obtained demonstrating the existence

of general eye-contact norms, great variation between iLdi.vi.duals in

the amount of looking was found. Argyle and Dean (1965"' have demon-

strated that women engage in more eye-contact than do men, particular-

ly when calkirng to other women. Exline and Winters (1965) also found


same-sex pairs to engage in more eye-contact than cross-sex pairs. In

an attempted replication of these data, Catlcart, et al. (1968) could

not substantiate the findings. Exline and Winters (1965) also found

that women will look more at the other while speaking if they like

him, while men look more when listening if the other is liked.

People high in the need for affiliation look more, but only in

a cooperative situation. If the situation is competitive, the subject

high in dominative needs tend to look more. These effects are height-

ened among women. This has been used to explain women Looking more,

i. e., women are higher in affiliation and lower in dominance, so that

a friendly expetimrntal setting elicits more looking (E:line, 1963).

The essence of the information aLL'rnacivois are ,summarized by

Argyle (1967) as follows:

1. A wants to initiate iiieraction with B.

2. A shows B the attitude or emotions which he feels

toward B.

3. E wishes to show A that he accepts--or rejects--A's

proposed relationship

4. At the end of each speech A looks at to signal

he may speak.

5. A wishes to show B he is more believable, more

confident, and more favorable in his attitude

toward B.

6. If A gives B glances rather longer than normal, he


indicates he is more concerned with B as a person

than with chi- i lsuj at hand.

While the above possibilities are essentially concerned with

the sending of inforna t ion, it i equally, necessary, for a communicator

to get feedback on the other r. is':zn's response, i e. atti nd to com-

municator acts. Person A may i.ish to know simply, if he still has B's

attention, or if B has understood and/or agrees, or, perhaps most

importantly, if he still has permission to continue the interaction.

lIhile an extensive effort I:I been made to catalog the norms of

eye-contact data, quite a bit of r-st-atch has been completed concern-

ing the motivational aspect of ey..-contact.

Arg;yle (1967) used che informai(ion seeking function to hypoth-

esize the nature of the underlying motivation of the avoidance bhchav-

ior at the outset of a communicajtiuin He felt that the speaker does

not wish to be distracted by extra inputs of information while tie is

planning and organizing his message. Several scudies are available

as support for this theory of eye-contact motivation; Kendon (1967) stati-s

that A ". .iill tend to look more 'hen he is engaging in fluent,

well-rehearsed material than when engaging in hesitant and unfiuent

passages." Exline (1963) has found that the difficulty of the material,

per se, correlated with looking. That is, more difficult and complex

material elicits less looking behavior on the part of the sender.

Argyle also offered the hypothesis that the avoidance is really an

effort to reduce anxiety as an a'tcrnative to his information theory

of motivation. (Argyle & Dean, 1965; Stass and Willis, 1967).

While short periods of looking may simply be information processes,

longer periods signify a heightened interest in the other person (Argyle,

1967), either in an affiliative, sexual, or aggrc:..sive/competitive

sense. Looking should he correlated positively with these motives

(Argyle, 1967). For example, Exline and Winters (1965) have found

high affiliators to engage in more eye-contact when in the presence

of a person whom they like. However, there is evidence that being

aware of being observed is disturbing (Liang, 1960).

Paralleling the research devoted to the information and

anxiety hypotheses is work directed toward suggesting eye-contact to

be a component of "intimacy" (Argyle & Dean, 1965). Exline, Gray,

and Schuette (1965) found fewei personal questions to be asked of

an interviewer when the interview, gazed continuously Kendon

(1967) found a negative relation between smiling and eye--conjtact.

If A smiles, then B smiles, thus raising the intimacy in the con-

versation. At this point of higher intimacy the amount of eye-contact

decreased. Argyle and Dean (1.965) tested the. hypothesis that distance

and eye-contact would also be negatively related. Their results add

evidence that eye-contact decreases with intimacy--in this case oper-

atiaialized by assuming physical closeness to be intimacy.

It is obvious that considerable effort has been directed toward

the variable of eye-contact within social performance; however, sev-.

eral criticisms may be levied against the preceding research. One

aspect is that the paradigms selected,almost without exception,assume

the subject to be using eye-contt.ct in connection wich a pre-seleccted

variable. That is, a receiver indicates he is interpreting a condition

which contains increased cyc-contact as a condition that contains

aggression; therefore, the experimenter ascribes aggression to the

sender. It seems, however, that no one has asked subjects to be ag-

gressive and checked to sec if indeed the subject as a sender uses the

variable is predicted. Of notable cxccption to this cri cic sm is an

atItempt tL examine the motivational aspect of eye-contact in uhicl the

behavioral state of the subjecr, i.e., anxiety, is manipulated (Stanley

& Martin, 1967). Even this study, however, fails to get at the ques-

tion of hoi.' the subject interprets his efforts at info: motion sending.

By utilizing the method of role playing, perhaps two questions mna be

answered: 1) Do subjects as senders recognize the social value of

eye-contact as information sending, and 2) if subjects do recognize

the variable as useful, will they uie it in thc manner predicted by

the behavioral scientist from his : ata gatheLed from rcei'.ers'

Another seeming failure in the attempt to demonstrate the eyc-

contact phenomenon has been the choice of explr:rimental designs. Only

one study (Stass & Willis, 1967) has attempted a true within-subject

design, the remainder have been casL into a b'jteen-subjects; analysis.

That is to say, rather than attempting tu find differi.n ial effects of

several eye-contact conditions to the sane individual, experimenters

have relied upon assigning one condition oF eye-contact to a group and

then comparing it. results to another group uhich has received a dif-

ferent condition. Since it is readily demonstrated that baseline rates

between individuals is a highly significant factor (Cathcart, et al.,

1969) between groups seems to be tenuous--or at least a less powerful

demonstration of the viability of the variable of eye-contact.

Although less severe, several additional criticisms exist. Vir-

tually all the data collected is from dyadic discussion or interview

situations. That is to say, the effect has generally been studied

only among the smallest of groups. Furthermore, the available cross-

sex data is conflicting and quite scarce.

The following series of two experiments were designed t.z attempt

to correct the first two criticisms. The manipulations were: 1) To

ask subjects to "play roles," i.e., attempt to send a specified type

of information, and determine if the subjects use the variable as

previously hypothesized, and 2) cast the subject in such an experi-

mental setting as to expose him to several conditions of eye-contact

rather than a single condition. The experiments will alos accept to

extend specific previous findings, e.g., to groups largest than dyads,

and to acr.enmt to simply replicate findings of previou- e:.:perim nts

in order to more fully demonstrate their -xisternce.



Experiment One: MethoJ and Pesults


The 176 male and 176 female subjects involved in the experiment

were, for the most part, from the University of Florida's introductory

psychology course subject pool. Most subjects were fulfilling intro-

ductory psychology course requirements for experimental participation,

however some were recruited by asking passing studenLt to "help out."

With only a few exceptions, the passersby responded affirmatively to

the request.


A posted announcement indicated an experiment Lhat offered

enough credit to meet the student's entire obligation, but that a

prerequisite of an interview by a committee was necessary. The subjects

were informed that perhaps one-half of those interviewed would be

selected to continue with the second half--this information was given

after the completion of the collection of the data from the interview.

In reality, only 32 subjects were selected to continue in the second


Upon reporting to the experimental room, the subject found a

panel of three persons waiting for him. The panel was comprised of


either all males, all females, or a mixture. Thc three specific indi-

viduals comprising the panel were one combination of all the possible

combinations of four male and four female confederates of the expcri-

nenter. The compositions were counterbalanced so that each confcder-

ate was a member of differently constituted panels an equal number of

times. The members of the panel had been previously instructed to

conform to one of three eye-contact availability conditions: constant

availability, spontaneous availability, or non-availability. The por-

trayal of the three conditions was also rotated among panel members

in a counterbalanced manner.

Following a brief introduction to the panel the experimenter

left the interview room. The subject found himself seated facing

the panel which was in turn seated about a small table some 10 to 12

feet away. The seating order of the panel was haphazardly changed

with each change of subject. A 4-minute discussion of the sjbject's

concepts, attitudes, and goals in the field of psychology and experi-

mentation in psychology took place. During this interview, the panel

members attempted to maintain a neutral presentation cf their questions

--each asking three of the same nine questions (see Appendi:-: A). The

choice of which three co ask was also changed in a haphazard manner,

i. e., each panel member asked any three questions that he had not

asked in the iirrnedi3ately previous interview. The order of the ques-

tions was established only by the subject's responses, i.e., if the

response of a subject led naturally to another question it was aoked.

Upon completion of the discussion, the experimenter returned and

asked the subject to follow him outside the interview room. Once


the subject was away from the panel he was asked to simply identify,

the member of the panel he preferred co ,.ork with, or for, in the re-

mainder of the experiment. If the subject questioned the .xperimente r

about the feasibility of the choice, the experimenter acknowledged the

difficulty, but stated ic was to te. a variable in the next e:..periment

and was necessary. This satisfied all questioning subjects enough so

chat they made the choice requested. After the subject identified the

memnber, he was informed r.hat notification of those selected would be

posted on the experiment notice bulletin board.

Predic tions

If one makes the simple assuimptioi, that people F .i l choose to

work with those .whom they like: or find moie attractive, then previously

reported data indicating that dLcgee of eye-contact makes a person

attracLive should predict the ch',ice; of the subjects. Winei and

Hehrabian (no date) had tw.o female subjects~ interviewed by a male con-

federate who looked more at one of the subjects. The most looked at

subject found the interviewer to be more positive in value. Kersey

(1968) in a re-analysis of the Cathcart, et al. data found that when

the effect of individuals was statistically controlled,a significant

interaction existed between liking, eye-contact, availability condi-

tion, and sex of subject. In essence, the females did notdislike being

stared at, at least,did not devalue those who made eye-contact con-

stantly available, but did dev.alue those who ignored their attempts at

eye-contact. The male subjects did nct dislike the condition where the

confederate made no eye-contact available--that is, the males did not

devalue those who gave no eve-contact while they did devalue males who


made it constantly available.

Based on the two studies above, the following speLific predic-

tions were made:

Prediction One: The female subjects will choose members

of th.e panel in thle folluo'ing manner:

spontaneous eye-contact availability

more often than or with the same fre-

quency as constant eye-contact avail-

ability, with no eye-contact availabil-

ity chosen significantly less often.

Prediction Two: Tile male subjects will chcose memb..rs

of the panel in the following manner.

spontaneous y-i-contac' availability

more ofteri than or with the s.-me fre-

quency as no eye-contact availability,

with constant eye-contact availability

chosen significantly less often.

Because of the conflicting data on cross-sex iruaLiors combined

with the lack of data on triads, no hypotheses were advanced on the

six intervening male/female combination panels. Rather, these data were

to be viewed as exp]orator,' investigation within the area of eye-



The frequencies with which subjects chose panel members for future

partners in a second experiment constituted the data. The


data Jcre subjected to a series of chi-square tests. The data

obtained from the all-male and all-female panels were cast in a chree-

way contingency table wi..di sex of subject, sex of panel, and eve- .

contact availability as the classification factors. The choice fre-

quency from each of the six possible combinations found in the mi:ed

panel situation, i. e., a male playing each of the three eye-contact

availability conditions xith Lto females playing the other, and a female

playing each of the three eye-contact a'.ailability conditions with two

males playing the others, were subjected to separate tists of ind pend-

ence in 2 x 3 contingency tables (Li, 1964).

The obtained frequencies of choice of future partner from same

sex panels, i.e., all male or all female, tor each cell are presented

in Table 1. The expected frequencies are in parentheses. The resulting

chi-square analysis ,of the sam--se:- panels indicated significant effects

as shouTn ir. Table 2.

One rote of explanation is necessary concerning the statistical

analysis. Sex of subject effect and sex of target effect were forced

to zero by the choice of the a priori assignments of expected cell

frequencies. That is, all between-subjects data is not testable. This

may be demonstrated if the male subject x all-male panel cell is exam-

ined. Since each of the subjects in that cell (n = 18) must make a

choice among the three conditions in che cell, and the a priori

expectancies call for a frequency of 18 in chat cell, it is readily

seen that che two numbers will exactly coincide giving a chi-square of

zero. The practical consequences of the situation are as follows:

1) the loss of one degree of freedom for each of the tw, bt-.'een-

subjects effect as well as a loss of another degree of freedom for


University of Florida's introductory psychology course subjCct pool.

The 16 male and 16 female subjects were fulfilling introductory psy-

chology course requirements for experimental participation.


Upon reporting to the experimental waiting room, the subject

found another person, the confederate of the experimenter, already

waiting there. The experimenter immediately appeared and asked if the

two were there for experiment number 191. Upon receiving affirmative

answers from the subjects, they were led to the experimental setting:

a room containing a small table (approximately 32 inches wide), two

chairs, and a mirror. The experimenter then gave the following directions

and explanations: "Would you (pointing to the confederate) please be

seated there (pointing in a casual manner to the chair between the

table and the mirror). And you, there (indicating in a manner that

appeared to be a random choice for the subjecr to be sealed in the

chair facing the mirror). I'm exploring the .-onditions surrounding

dyadic interaction; that is, interaction between two people. I would

like to explain two aspects of this experiment. First, the mirror be-

hind you is obviously a one-way screen. It is placed there so that my

presence is minimized during this experiment. After all, I am investi-

gating dads and not three people, or what's called triads. Secondly,

because I shall be asking each of you to participate in this experi-

ment in a slightly different manner, I shall present the remaining

instructions for this experience as written te.t rather than verbally.

Do you understand? 0. k., here are your further instructions."

their interaction, and 2) all of the testable variances being forced to

the within-subject condition, i.e., eye-contact availability conditions,

and its interactions.

The two significant chi-squares found were for eye-contact avail-
ability condition (X = 7.6, df = 2, p<.025) and for eve-contact avail-

ability conditions interacting with the sex: of the subject
(X = 7.6, df = 2, p<.025). This, then, is support that eye-contact

availability conditions lead to a differential choice of future part-

ners, (However, the effect seems to be different depending upon the

sex of the person receiving the eye-contact; a male does not choose

another male who looks at him continually or a female who avoids look-

ing at him and females rarely choose anyone who avoids looking at

them. I

The data from the intervening mixed-sex panel conditions dis-

played in Table 3 appeal to agree with the above. That is, eye-contact

availability conditions found to be aversive in the same-sex panel

conditions continue to be chosen less often. Table 4 compares the

chi-squares found in the six mixed-so:, conditions. The results

indicate that as conditions establish morc numerous aversive cells,

choices are forced to the remaining cells, thus yielding chi-squares

with smaller probability levels.

Experiment Two: Mechod and Pesulcs


The 32 subjects involved in the experiment were a sample from

the 252 subjects involved in Experiment One. All were from the


The confederate received no particular instructions. He was

handed t. pewritten pages of te::t of obviously longer length than the

subject's instructions, and, on the next occasion, a handwritten note.

This was to make the subject unsure if the confederate were receiving

the same set or type of instructions. The subject's instructions

were one of two sets:

Set of Instructions Number One:--This part of the experiment re-

quests that ycu discuss Mormons (Church of the Latter Day Saints).* Any-

thing that you know, feel, or believe about the Mormons may be discussed.

In other words, anything you feel to be appropriate to the discussion

may be brought forth, but please do attempt to play the "role" of an

AGGRESSIVE and VITAL debater. You may define the "role" as you see



Set of Instructions Number Two:--This part of the experiment re-

quests that you discuss Mormons (Church of the Latter Day Saints).

Anything that you know, feel, or believe about the Mormons may be dis-

cussed. In other words, anything you feel to be appropriate to the

discussion may be brought forth, but please do attempt to keep the

discussion only on Mormons. However, I further wish you to attetIpt

to play the "role" of a PASSIVE and RETIRING debater. You ma' define

the "role" as you see fit. PLEASE DO NOT BEGIN THE DISCUSSION UNtTIL


After the subject and confederate read the in; tructions the e:-

perimenter took the instructions and retired to behind the one-way

*'The subject of "Mormons" was chosen because the experim-enter's
previous use of the subject had established it as a neutral topic for
the majority of University of Florida students.


screen. He then capped on the one-way mirror to signal subjects to be-

gin the discussion. A ten-point Esterline-Angus Event Recorder was

used to record the amount of eye-contact availability the subject used

in his interpretation of his assigned role. The recorder was wired in

such a manner that the experimenter controlled the movements of one

stylus with a telegraph key. Deflections of the stylus recorded eye-

contact availability.

At the end of a 4-minute period, the experimenter returned to the

experimental room, said, "Fine, now please read these." The subject was

handed the second set of instructions and the confederate received an-

other copy of what appeared to be different instructions. When che sub-

ject had read the instructions, the e:pe rimenter took them and once

again retired behind the screen for another 4-minute period.

At the end of the second "scagirg." the subject and confederate

were thanked for their assistance. At this time the two were asked if

they would consent to do a favor for the next subject. It was explained

that one of the pair due to participate next on the schedule had failed

to arrive, and while it was a bit irregular, perhaps one of them would

consent to do the experiment again. 'he confederate refused because of

an extremely important prior commitment. After gaining the subject's

acceptance (only two refused), another confederate of the opposite sex

from the first confederate was ushered into the experiment room.

The procedure was then repeated, the experiment terminated, and

the subject debriefed.


Since the level of looking has been assumed to be related to the

subject's orientation toward the others, this experiment was set up


to give the subject a specific orientation toward another and find out

if he did, indeed, use eye-contact to differentially sc;id information.

Of specific iinteresc in this experirr.ent was Atg.g le's (1967) assertion

chat aggression should correlate positively with eye-contact. Cross-

sex data once again were offered [n a r.normative manner.

Prediction One:

Prediction Two:

Prediction Three

Prediction Four:

Based on Kendon's (1967) findings that

the subject looks more when he is fluent

and rehearsed, the subject should look

more during his second presentation.

Based on Argyle (1967) findings, it is

predicted thac women will engage in more

eye-contact than men, particularly with

other women.

Based on ExJine and Winters' (1965)

findings, it is predicted chat the same

sex-Fairs will engage in noLe eye-con-

tact ch.n cross-sex pairs.

Argyle's (1967) assertiur. predicts that

male subjects will stare more vhen play-

ing rth aggressive role. Since no fe-

male or cross-sex data affErd a pre-dic-

tion, it should be assum-d co also

hold true for females a;id cross-se:

situations as well.



The data, consisting of the millimeters of inscription on cvcnt-

recorder tape, were subjected to a 2 x 2 x 2 (sex of confederate x sex

of subject x passive/aggressive condition) repeated measures design.

The repeated measures were over two factors--pass ive/aggressive condi-

tion and sex of confederate. This is referred to by Wirter (1962) as

Case-i type. The order of presentation was randomized for sex of con-

federate and randomized within sex of confederate for passive/aggres-

sive presentation.

Table 5 shows the means for each of the experimental conditions.

No effort was made to convert the millimeters of inscription on the

event-recorder tape to increments of rime since this amounts only to

multiplying the data by a constant and would in no way change tle sta-

tistical presentation. Tibic 6 presecnts a sumwar, of the analysis of.

variance applied co the data. Se. of subject is a very strong effect

(F = 258.6, df = 1/30, p<.001) with female subjects presenting far more

eye-contact availability than male subjects. The eye-contact availabil-

ity used by subjects in tht two role playing conditions, i.e., aggressive

or passive, is significantly different (F = 17.3. df = 1/30, p<,01).

The subjects use less eye-contact when role playing the passive condi-

tion. And, finally, the amount of eye-contact availability used in the

role conditions is found to interact significantly with the sex of the

target person (F = 6.7, df = 1/15, p<.05).

The data may be recombined in such a manner as to demonstrate

any effect found over trials. That is, by ignoring the sex of the


target, which in the actual experiment was counterbalanced, one obtains

the measure of eye-contact during the first and second role playings of

the aggressive and passive conditions. Table 7 shows the means of the

cells obtained from the recombination of the data and Table 8 presents

a summary of the separate analysis performed.

The prediction that women will look more across all conditions estab-

lished from Ex]ine and Winters' (1965) data is firmly substantiated.

However, neither Kendon's (1967) prediction that more fluency will

allow more eye-contact, nor Exline and Winters' (1965) findings that

same-sex pairs engage in more eye-contact than cross-sex pairs finds

support from the analysis of the recombined data. Nor is Argyle's

(1967) assertion that aggression is positively related to eye-coiitact

sustained by the analysis of the data in their original form. PuL,

since there is a significant interaction between eye-Lortact availabil-

ity and sex of target, the hypothesis does find some support.


Table I

Choice of Future Partner Frequencies Obtained
from Samc-Se:. (Mal or Female) Panel Condicions

All Male Panel

ConscanL Spontaneous I-ev'er

2 (6)

9 (6)

8 t6) 8 (6)

7 (6) 2 (6)

All Female Vanel

Constant Spontarnecus lever

7 (6) 10 (6) 1 (6)

11 (6) 5 (o0 2 (6)

Hale Ss

Female Ss

Noce: The expected cell freq'uncies shown in FarenLhesCS are a
priori assignments based on the assumptLon of independence of ciondi-
Si on s



Table 2

Chi-square Sunrary Table for Same-Sex Panel Conditions


Sex of subject (SS)

Sex of target (ST
Eye-contact availability
condition (EC)

SS x ST interaction

SS x EC interaction

ST x EC interaction

SS x ST x EC interaction












Table 3

Choice of Future Partnecr Frequencies Obtained
from Mixed-Sc-x (Male and Female) Panel Condicions

Panel Condition Hale Subject Female Subjecc

Constant Male 2 (5) 6 (5)
lI.ver lale 7 (5) 3 (5)
Spontaneous Female 6 (5) 6 (5)

Spontaneous Male 4 (5) (5)
Heve.r Male 5 (5) C? .5)
Constanc Female 6 (5) 6 (5)

Sponcaneous Male (5) 6 ()
Constant Male 2 (5) 7 (5)
Lever Female 4 (5) L 5)

Constant Femalp 7 (5) 7 (5)
Never Female 2 (5) 3 (5)
Spontaneous Male: 6 (3) 5 (5)

Spontaneous Female 11 (5) 6 (5)
Never FemalL 3 (5) 2 (5)
Constant Male 1 (5) 7 (5)

Spontaneous Female 5 (5) 6 (5)
Constant Female 6 (5) b (5'
lever Male 4 (5) (S

lioce: Expccced call frequencies established a priori on the
assumption of independence of conditions.


Table 4


Obtained from Analyses of Six
Mixed-Sex Panel Conditions


Panel Condition



df Probability

Cons tant Male
Never Male
Spontaneous Female

Spontaneous Male
Never Male
Constant Female

Spontaneous Male
Constant Male
Never Female

Constant Female
Never Female
Spontaneous Male

Spontaneous Female
Never Female
Constant Male

Spontaneous Female
Constant Female
Never Male







1 1.6

2 .50


Table 5

Mean Millimeters nf r e'.'en Recorded Inscription
Measuring Time Subject- H-ide Eye-Contact Available
to r1rget Person

Male Target

Aggre si.e Pass ive
Role Role

Female Target

Aggressive Passive
Role Role


Male Subject

Female Subject




237. 9 228.50


227.06 263.25


Table 6

Analysis of Variance Summary Table for Millimeters of Inscription
Measuring Time Subjects Made Eye-Contact Available to Target Person


Between Subject

Sex of Subject (SS)

Subject Within Groups

Within Subject

Sex of Target (ST)

SS :,: ST

ST : Subject Within
Groups (error B)

Role Condition (C)


C : Subject Within
Groups (error C)

ST x C

SS x ST : C

ST x C x Subject
Within Groups
(error EC)

SS df














134,421.0 25.8












16,244.0 6.7








36,263 15


241 8


fabl 7

flean i11 ilimeters of ['.'-nt Recorded Inscription
feasu r ng Ii iC Su btj-c Ls -l.aJ ce Eye-Con tac: t Av'.ailabl
to ?"Tai.- c P-erson

Trial One

A grUss L P3ss i.'
Role Role

Trial Two

Aggressive Passive
Role Role

Male Subject

Female Subjecr




233.8 248.1




230. 243. 7


Table 8

Analysis of Variance Summary Table for lillimeters of Inscription
Ileasuring Time Subjects Made Lye-Concact Available co Target Person

Sou rce

Between Subjects

Sex of Subject (SS)

Subject Within Groups

i th in Subjec ts

Trial (T)

SS x T

T x Subject Iichin
Groups (error T)

Role Condition (C)

SS x C

C x Subject ltithin
Groups (error C)

I x C

SS x T x C

T x C x Subject
Within Groups
(error T x C)



135 ,421.9










riS F Probnbi lit',
















51,5S6.S 15 343.9



The results of E:-:pctiment One Seetn straighcfori-iard and cleat.

First and foremost, they demonstrate the effect of eye-contact in pro-

ducing differential behavior within an individual. To those who had

faith in the bet.,een-gtoups dara perhaps chis finding may seem unimpot-

cant; however, to the degree chat tlh effectiveness of scientific vari-

ables rests upon demonstration in varying situations ard consent, this

finding supports the belief that ,'-e-coirnact may be viewed as a rcien-

cifically useful phenomenon. In this s,:nse, E::pieiment One has duti-

fully contributed. Tie degree of consistency w:ith w..hich individuals in

this experiment avoid the choice i.f certain t,'pes of partners in prefer-

ence to other types seems to indicate tle existence of generally known

and accepted norms.

The conditions that are avoided are somewhat different for the

cuo se:-:es. For males a "looking" male seems to be undesirable. If

the animal daca concerning dominance m.ay be extended to humans ac this

point, it wouldl d seem reasonable to argue chat this is merely one male

resisting the attempted dominance by another male. What makes this

ad hoc explanation somewhat tenuous is the data showing an opposite

effect by a "looking" female. Sin-e she is readily accepted--irdeed,

sought ouL--by the male, why is she not seen as attempting to dominate?

Does the male wish to be dominated by the female? It does not seem


likely. Perhaps it is merely that the male does not perceive an attempt

by a physically weaker female to dominate us plausible and therefore not

as threatening. Another finding reported in the literature is that

females just use more eye-contact than males, so it may merely be a

case of a "looking" female meeting a cultural expectation while the

"looking" male is not. If this be the case, one may explain both occur-

rances by noting that the unexpected is threatening. It must be stated,

however, that invoking cultural expectations as an explanation says

absolutely nothing about the genILsis of the expectations.

In passing, it is easiest to explain the "looking" female choice

of the male in terms of sexual concoctions. Tomkins (1963) used this

to explain his finding that female. did not look at males as juch as

at other females, although this p rtic,,Ler finding has not been repli-

cated in several attempts by t'- p rimeater and some of his immediate

associates. However, it does rot se,,n implausible that sexual impli-

cations may be found in eye-cont c*- situations. This is different from

saying they always are.

The psychology of individual il .fferco cs offers one possible

option fur the female cultural tra;.r ct locking. She is found to be

more field dependent in her behavior; that is, she leans upon the en-

vironmental milieu to guide her actions uore than the male, it is per-

haps for this reason that the reu-iltr of Experiment One show the female

subjects to avoid those--male or fct ale --who do not offer there. eye-

contact. The explanation of expectation must be twisted a bit to fit

this situation, but if the female xpccts the male to look at her for

sexual reasons and another female to look at her for information-

gathering reasons, then a nonlooking rale or female is not meeting

her expect cation.

Finally, C:-perimenti Onc, cl.- rl sheo -- that prev.iousu S reported

data in dvadic situations !old- LIue at least for a troup of four.

This, of course, was an in tLr.i sit'3ction and it is. possible chat a

discussion group could piodice *- r.. of il;fferc-in nature if suffi-

cient competition were to be i cr duced. Thi. couul particu early affect

the cross-sex crr, i cion.. .'hich in this .-per ijmenr. followed rhe same-

sex patterns.

Experiment Two so.m3.; t be less straigi, ttorward in tr. results.

Primarily the diffictultcy li. i 'n Ihe hI'potc'.,e-L: concerning the amount

of eye-concact that will 1,c i, .-,I when pliyinp the nggretsive role.

Argyle's prediction of pr?'-i .- ielatic i.nshLt' I ~:ceen aggression and

eye-contaci is not suppcr- te-l. 7T faLL, r.l results of the sta-istical

test of the d.3at for thli- r-i i ect of rol: ccndition- would indicate

the rev.ers. L. e., thcli LC i-.o b.t- e i .?7-gre l Lto aid eye-cuntacc

is negative.

However, in c:-.aminIn'. '--: c. 1i1 ri.an li-;ted ir Toble 1 t1.t i.s

possible to s-e that the d.nr L. i:ied fow male t.-rgatc. are in the

direction predicted. It is po Ibl that ihe Lrium.ir'idous difference

found in the results obtained frou- che teriales is overriding and hid-

ing any possible effects co 1-- flounr' .n the results obtained from the

males. This situation is r-.fic t.-ced in tle significance of sex of

target x role condition. 1 .e r: perimenrti believes the significant

interaction to be more truly ref' fec ive of the situation than the

main effect. -Wnile thi:; juL.st.i;ies to some degree the belief that Argyle',

contention is supported b,, I- i,;ate target data, it necessitaces asking

whv it does not occur with fI.-, lc;s as targ cts.


The first place to look for an explanation of the result is in

the experiment itself. Did some aspect of the experiment "force" the

subjects into changed behavior? An examination of the role instruc-

tions offers one possible explanation. Did the subjects read the

aggressive and active role demands as telling them to be hostile and/or

negative? If so, then the results of the experiment agree remarkably

well with the results of the first experiment. That is to say, if one

does not care to hb chosen (with its implication of not being liked), then

what better way than to "look" at a male and not look at a female? This

explanation fits the data well with the exception of the female-male

cell in which the females choose to look more at the male. The males

did not find this undesirable.

Alternatively, the passive and retiring instructions nig t have

cued the subject to "sit and listen." This behavior ha.3 Leen dLmon-

strated as positively related to more looking behavior. This does not

seem likely since neither males and females followed this pattern of

behavior when corfLonted with a maJe target.

It is exceedingly difficult tc staue which of the two, or if

either of the two phenomena occurred. This is due to the failure on

the part of the experimenter to include a control group in the design.

In an effort to remedy the failure, a post-experimental attempt was

made to find if the instructions were seen differently. This investi-

gation consisted of asking 20 subjects to write three-sentence para-

graphs explaining the behavior they thought was appropriate in a debate be-

tween two strangers. Next they were asked what behavior was indicated

by either the one or the other set of instructions. That is, 10 subjects


wrote a paragraph about .: debatCe nd Lhen a paragraph abou-t the passive

instructions, and 10 ocher suhj,-,.. ts wrote a paragraph abouc a debate and

then a parragraph about the aggrr.isLv instructions. Threc judges (grad-

uate students in clinical psychle o. l '. ) were unable to detect a signifi-

cant difference in either coimp.ar--.on at the two sirCu.acions.

If no element of the e:
factory interpretation of the rc ;i'-L the next place to look is at the

subjects as subjects. Does th,: -ubj'.ect actually kno%. enough about his

behavior to successfully "play" i ole? The introductory te:
chology are replete with one ty[: ..f teaching mechanism: the initiate

is offered a list of true-falsei a .-. tions concerning cultural truisms

which he anrcers to the best u. I -- la',aanii's kno- led ,e He L, chh-n

astonished to find that the behai;.n 1 1 scientist offers ev'.ide'i rt that

his pr-c-cnceptions--those that. *'. body juct knows!--are false. This

is supposed to make the studenL malleabl to the new I r-ov. ied',e he

is about to encounter. Perhaps. Li :n the role behavior re lusted of the

subjects in Experiment Two wais -ri -.- :mple of the behavioral scLence/

layman dispori ,, Tlat is, pe'rhb..is eo-,rie do not e., evye-concac' as

related to aggression. However. mn". folk-sayings, e.g., "'tate the

man dovrm," exist that attest to ch- layman seeing a positive' 2 correla-

tion between che two variables. In.' ed, if ques cioned, tl-e layman

would probably predict as the ec:<.,timenter and Argy,,le did, This particu-

lar questionnaire has yet to Le -.:.cn to a sample of subj-cts.

In line with the present d.. :-ission is i distinction that has

been made concerning the differe,..c between "role playing" and "role

enactment." The essence of the di..tinction is chat a subject will


offer different results if no ego investment is made in the situation.

In other words, the role player does not have anything "on the line."

Just why this would affect only half of the experiment is not very

clear, and therefore open to some skepticism as an explanation.

Finally, let us look at thu results of Experiment Two and the

subject's actions as if they do '"uly reflect the culture and its

norms, and try to isolate potentially effectual variables. Tf the

experiment consisted of allowing some choice of behavior to the sub-

ject, it would surprise very few people if little aggressiveness was

overtly directed toward females. Our cultural stereotypes of male

and female are dichotomized by nir ii things but very few so tr..ngl.y,

as th-- one demanding r "man" to ;. s LLong, cormn: t iti\.e, aggressive,

and dominating, and a truly "flomi iii woman" to be soft, duinure, and

ie ldi-g. Our norils also d-emnanu .n'-ist nt bch:i'.ioi to-'.,1 L h(m. T.,

attest to this, one m;y, refer to jan' .)f the -cu ient studies i alyzing

the difficulty of the emancipate' women in resolving conflicts of role.

Therefore, aggression is not oil', -.riissible iih males 1ut o'JL cul-

ture d,-m:.nds it. Con.'ersely cu" c' LLure does not re,2i;i ', : ept.

aggression it, relations with wo-.rn This, then, indli i:atsl th experi-

wiental results are reflecting socLal norms.

If the above relationship L s rentedd, then two possiLe.- sources

of motivation may be cited: 1) tl- di.scomfort from the dis:;onance

(Fescti igc r, 196 ) suffered fro,, tlhe t-:havior d-emanded kb., the instructionso -

being in conflict with thl cu lrtual norms, or 21 discomfort rrom guilt

felt by the subject from the suppos-_d discomfort, or mental pain, in-

flicted upon the target person. In both cases, the increased anxiety


or discomfort should dec rcas- .-,y -:ontact (Stanley & MlrnrLin, 1968).

A choice among the possibLe interpret stations requires a modi fi-

cation of e:.:perimental design, 5.., introducing controls, as well as

experimental technique, e. g., u;ing a method other than role playing

to elicit aggression or pas-i'i.ty. These would have 'r, b._ accomplished

in further work on the eye-co iL a t .-ariablet .T-e thenr .r not this is

reflecting society's admoni.ion to not be ov.erly aggr Li,.e toward

females or some inner disc, mfor'. about a possible transgiession also

remains to be tested.


(1) Do you find experimental pr rticipation requirements to be a
(If answer is yes or no, respond with, "Would you please ex-

(2) Is general psychological research--that you are aware of--useful?
(If answer is yes or no, respond with, "Would you please explain.")

(3) Is general psychological research--that you are aware of--valid?
(If answer is yes or no, respond with, "Would you please explain.")

(4) What experiments have you participated in previously?

(5) Why did you take Psychology 201 (or 300 if applicable)?

(6) Is psychology what you thought it to be?

(7) If you weren't required tr~ participate in experiments, what would
motivate you to parti(cite?

(8) What is most exciting ':o you in psychology?

(9) What is most disappointii'g to you in psychology?



Argy, le, 1. The psychology of irlt.-rFpersonal beIha..ior. London: Penguin
Books, Ltd., 1967.

/ Argyl N. and Dean, J. Evc-con ta,- L, distance and affiliation. Sociom-
e t rP 1965, 2., 289-30.4.

Argyle, 1. and [endon, A. The *::periomental anal: sis of social perform-
ance, in Cerkouitz (ed ), ..d .-inrces in ::e perimental social ps.'chol-
o0y III. lew York: Academic Press, 1967, 55-98.

Cathcart, E., Kersey J., Breed. G., Rubin, J., Garcia, J., and Wells, S.
Attitude change as a function of eye-contact. Unpublished paper:
Uni'.ersity of Florida, 1':8.

De'.'ore, I. (ed.) Primate behav.ior- field studies of monkeys and apes.
liet,: York: Holt, Rineh-i r. ,. 'Uinscon, 1965.

,,-Cknan, P. A methodological discussion of nonverbal behavior. Journal of
P-.-cholog.', 1957, 43, 141-14q.

E>:line, P. V. E:-:plorations in the process of person perception: 'isual
integration in relation to competition, sex and need for affilia-
tion. Journal of personality, !,63, i-f 1-20.

Exline, P. V., and Eldridge. Uirpublished. Reported in S. Tomkins and
C. Issard (eds.) Affect, condition and personality. New York:
Springer, 1965.

Exline, R. V. and Iinters, L. C. Affecti've relations and mutual glances
in dyads. In S. Tomkirns .,,rJ C. I?.zard (eds.) Affect. cogniLion
and personal i,. fIew York : Springer, 1965, 319-351.

S-'Exlinc- e, R. V., Gray, D., and Schl:ette, D. Visual beha'.ior in a dyad
as affected by interview. ciunt-.nt and sex:: of respondent. Journal
of Personalit' and Social Pv'.'cholo.y, 1965, 1, 201-209.

Fesfinger, L. Conflict, decis -,n, nid dissonance. Stanford: Stanford
University, 1964.

Goffman, E. Presentation of zclf- in i-.er',day life. 1Ne,. York: Double-
day, 1959.

-3 7 -


Goffman, E. Behavior in public places. New York: Free Press, 1963.

Kersey, J. Eye-contact as an independent variable in the measurement
of person perception and attitude change. Unpublished paper:
University of Florida, 1968.

Kendon, A. The experimental analysis of social performance. In
Berkowitz (ed.) Advances in experimental social psychology III.
New York: Academic Press, 1967, 55-98.

Li, J. C. R. Statistical Inference I. Ann Arbor: Edwards Brothers,

Liang, R. D. The self and others. London: Travistock, 1960.

Simmel, G. Sociology of the senses: Visual interaction. In R. Park
and E. Burgess (eds.) Introduction to the science of sociology.
Chicago: Chicago Press, 1921.

Stanley,G. and Martin, D. S. Eye-contact and the recall of material
involving competitive and noncompetitive associations. Psycho-
nomic Science, 1968, 13, 337-340.

Stass, T. W., and Willis, F. N., Jr. Eye contact, pupil dilation, and
personal preference. Psychonomic Science, 1967, 7, 375-376.

Tomkins, S. S. Affect, imagery, consciousness, Vol. II. The negative
Affects. New York: Springer, 1963.

Winer, B. J. Statistical principles in experimental design. New York:
McGraw-Hill, 1962.

Winter, B. J., and Mehrabian. Reported in M. Argyle and A. Kendon, The
Experimental analysis of social performance. In L. Berkowitz
(ed.) Advances in experimental social psychology III. New York:
Academic Press, 1967, 55-98.


Joseph Francis Kersey t'as ho,.r, Jarudry 18, 1939, at Laki.l.ind,

Florida. In June, 1957, he .',as graduated from Edgew.ate:r High School,

Orlando, Florida. In April, 1960, he entered the United States Army

and served in Europe as a member of tie Intelligence Corps until

1963. In December, 1964, he recr-ived the degree of Bachelor of Arts

from the University of Florida. In i965. he enrolled in rhc Graduate

School of the University of Florida anr. mintriculated for a las~ter of

Arts and Doctor of Philosophy degre-e, in, psychology.

-39 -

This dissertation was prepared under che direction of che chair-

man of the candidate's supervisory cunmiti Le and has be.n approved by

all members of that commiCtee. IL was submitted to the Dean of the

College of Arts and Sciences and to che Graduace Council, and was

approved as partial fulfillment ot the requirements for the degree of

Doctor of Philosophy.

June, 1969.

Dean, Colleg of Arts/and Sciences

Dean, Graduate School

Supervisory Cormmittee -

Chai rman


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