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Interpreting eye movements

At the gym a counselor explained what eye movements mean. He said things like, “looking up and to the left means the listener/speaker is trying to visualize something and looking up and to the right indicates one is accessing their memory. I found the conversation intriguing.

I haven’t been trained in interpreting eye movement so what follows is my opinion.

Four eye movements

#1. Looking up is generally the direction we look when we are thinking. You can’t tell if the person is thinking of the truth or making up a lie.

#2. Focused, relaxed eye contact indicates engagement and is generally good. Staring is bad and may be an attempt to intimidate.

#3. I’ve heard people say that we are looking within for an answer while looking down. I tend to interpret looking down more negatively. Perhaps it indicates guilt. Having said that, I notice that I frequently look down when I’m mulling things over.

#4. I interpret looking away when someone is responding in a negative light. I think the person is being evasive or perhaps hiding something.

Leaders need healthy skepticism because others frequently tell us what we want to hear and not what they really think. In addition, some may work to manipulate leaders for their own personal or professional gain. And of course there are those who out-right lie.


Do you use eye movements to help you interpret the message or motives of others?

What eye movements do you watch for and what do they mean?

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