您现在的位置: 纽约时报中英文网 >> 纽约时报中英文版 >> 风尚 >> 正文

眼睛会说话 与人眼神对视为何会如此神奇

更新时间:2019/3/14 16:36:40 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Why meeting another's gaze is so powerful
眼睛会说话 与人眼神对视为何会如此神奇

You’ve doubtless had the experience when, across a noisy, crowded room, you lock gazes with another person. It’s almost like a scene out of the movies – the rest of the world fades to grey while you and that other soul are momentarily connected in the mutual knowledge that they are looking at you and you at them.

你肯定有过这样的经历:在一个嘈杂拥挤的房间里,你与另一个人目不转睛地对视。这一幕简直就像电影——你们都知道对方在注视着自己,你们二人短暂地联系在一起,其余世界都褪去了颜色。

Of course, eye contact is not always so exciting – it’s a natural part of most casual conversations, after all – but it is nearly always important. We make assumptions about people’s personalities based on how much they meet our eyes or look away when we are talking to them. And when we pass strangers in the street or some other public place, we can be left feeling rejected if they don’t make eye contact.

当然,眼神交流并非总是那么令人兴奋,毕竟大多数闲谈时都会有,但其重要性却不容忽视。我们会基于谈话时他人与我们的目光接触,或是看向别处的情况来推测对方的性格。当走在街上或在其他公共场所与陌生人擦肩而过时,如果他们不与我们进行眼神交流,我们会有一种被拒绝的感觉。

This much we already know from our everyday experiences. But psychologists and neuroscientists have been studying eye contact for decades and their intriguing findings reveal much more about its power, including what our eyes give away and how eye contact changes what we think about the other person looking back at us.

我们从日常生活中就已经知道了这么多,而心理学家和神经科学家则已经对眼神交流研究了几十年。他们的发现很有意思,揭示了更多眼神交流的作用,包括眼神透露了哪些内容,以及眼神交流如何改变我们对他人的看法。

For instance, a recurring finding is that gazing eyes grab and hold our attention, making us less aware of what else is going on around us (that ‘fading to grey’ that I mentioned earlier). Also, meeting someone’s gaze almost immediately engages a raft of brain processes, as we make sense of the fact that we are dealing with the mind of another person who is currently looking at us. In consequence, we become more conscious of that other person’s agency, that they have a mind and perspective of their own – and, in turn, this makes us more self-conscious.

比如说,人们已经多次发现,凝视的眼睛会持续吸引我们的注意力,使我们意识不到周围发生的其他事情(正如我之前提到的“褪去颜色”)。而且,当我们意识到自己正在与看着我们的人互动时,这种四目相对会立刻引起一系列的大脑活动。我们会更加意识到他人的能动性,即他们有自己的想法和观点,而反过来也增强了我们的自我意识。

You may have noticed these effects particularly strongly if you’ve ever held the intense gaze of a monkey or ape at a zoo: it is almost impossible not to be overcome by the profound sensation that they are a conscious being judging and scrutinising you. In fact, even looking at a portrait painting that appears to be making eye contact has been shown to trigger a swathe of brain activity related to social cognition – that is, in regions involved in thinking about ourselves and others.

如果你曾在动物园里与猴子或猿类对视过,可能感受就更强烈——他们正在评判和审视你,是有意识的,这种深刻的感觉几乎不可能被忽视。其实,即使是盯着一副看似有眼神交流的肖像画也会引发一系列与社会认知相关的大脑活动,这些活动发生在脑部负责审视自己和他人的区域。

Not surprisingly, the drama of realising we are the object of another mind is highly distracting. Consider a recent study by Japanese researchers. Volunteers looked at a video of a face while simultaneously completing a word challenge that involved coming up with verbs to match various nouns (to take an easy example, if they heard the noun ‘milk”, a suitable response would be “drink”). Crucially, the volunteers struggled much more at the word challenge (but only for the trickier nouns) when the face in the video appeared to be making eye contact with them. The researchers think this effect occurred because eye contact – even with a stranger in a video – is so intense that it drains our cognitive reserves.

意识到别人在观察自己会分散我们的注意力,这一点也不出奇。来看看日本研究人员最近的一项研究:志愿者们一边观看一段人脸的视频,一边完成单词挑战,要想出与各种名词搭配的动词。(例如,听到“牛奶”,就要回答“喝”。)当视频中的人脸与志愿者眼神交流时,志愿者们就会分心难以正确回答。研究人员认为这是由于眼神交流非常强烈,耗尽了我们的认知力,即使视频中是一个陌生人。

Similar research has found that meeting the direct gaze of another also interferes with our working memory (our ability to hold and use information in mind over short periods of time), our imagination, and our mental control, in the sense of our ability to suppress irrelevant information. You may have experienced these effects first hand, perhaps without realising, whenever you have broken eye contact with another person so as to better concentrate on what you are saying or thinking about. Some psychologists even recommend looking away as a strategy to help young children answer questions.

类似的研究还发现,直视他人目光也会影响我们的工作记忆(即短时间内记忆和使用信息的能力)、想象力以及心理控制力,也就是拒绝无用信息的能力。当你为了更专注于所说或所想的事情而避开对方的目光时,其实已经体会到了这些影响,但未必自知。一些心理学家甚至建议在小孩子回答问题的时候不要看着他们。

As well as sending our brains into social overdrive, research also shows that eye contact shapes our perception of the other person who meets our gaze. For instance, we generally perceive people who make more eye contact to be more intelligent, more conscientious and sincere (in Western cultures, at least), and we become more inclined to believe what they say.

研究还表明,眼神交流不仅会令我们的大脑过度社交,还会影响与我们对注视对象的看法。例如,我们通常认为眼神接触多的人更聪明、更认真、更真诚(至少在西方文化中是这样),我们会更相信他们说的话。

Of course, too much eye contact can also make us uncomfortable – and people who stare without letting go can come across as creepy. In one study conducted at a science museum, psychologists recently tried to establish the preferred length of eye contact. They concluded that, on average, it is three seconds long (and no one preferred gazes that lasted longer than nine seconds).

当然,过多的眼神交流也会让人不舒服,目不转睛地盯着对方看会让人觉得很不舒服。在最近的一项研究中,心理学家在一个科学博物馆里试图计算出目光接触的最佳时间。他们的结论是,最佳凝视时间平均为3秒(超过9秒一定会令人不悦)。

Another documented effect of mutual gaze may help explain why that moment of eye contact across a room can sometimes feel so compelling. A recent study found that mutual gaze leads to a kind of partial melding of the self and other: we rate strangers with whom we’ve made eye contact as more similar to us, in terms of their personality and appearance. Perhaps, in the right context, when everyone else is busy talking to other people, this effect adds to the sense that you and the person looking back at you are sharing a special moment.

另一个已被证实的影响可能解释了为什么穿越人海的眼神交流有时会如此有吸引力。最近的一项研究发现,相互凝视会在某种程度上将自己与他人融合,我们会认为对视过的陌生人在性格和外貌上更像我们。也许,在适当的情况下,当其他人都在忙着和别人交谈时,这种效应会让你觉得,看向你的人正在与你共享一个特别的时刻。

The chemistry of eye contact doesn’t end there. Should you choose to move closer, you and your gaze partner will find that eye contact also joins you to each other in another way, in a process known as “pupil mimicry” or “pupil contagion” – this describes how your pupils and the other person’s dilate and constrict in synchrony. This has been interpreted as a form of subconscious social mimicry, a kind of ocular dance, and that would be the more romantic take.

眼神交流产生的化学反应还不止于此。如果你靠近对方,你和你凝视的对象会发现,目光会将你们以另外一种方式联系在一起,这个过程被称为“瞳孔模仿”或“瞳孔传染”,是在说你们双方的瞳孔是如何同步放大和缩小的。这种现象被称为一种潜意识的社会模仿,更浪漫的说法是一种视觉舞蹈。

But recently there’s been some scepticism about this, with researchers saying the phenomenon is merely a response to variations in the brightness of the other person’s eyes (up close, when the other person’s pupils dilate, this increases the darkness of the scene, thus causing your pupils to dilate too).

但最近有人对此表示怀疑。研究人员表示,这不过是对另一个人眼睛亮度变化的反应(双方靠近后,对方的瞳孔如果放大眼睛的光线就会变暗,你的瞳孔也就随之放大)。

That is not to say that pupil dilation has no psychological meaning. In fact, going back at least to the 1960s, psychologists have studied the way that our pupils dilate when we are more aroused or stimulated (in a physiological sense), whether by intellectual, emotional, aesthetic or sexual interest. This has led to debate about whether faces with more dilated pupils (sometimes taken as a sign of sexual interest) are perceived by onlookers to be more attractive. At least some studies, some decades old and others more recent, suggest they are, and we also know that our brains automatically process the dilation of other people’s pupils.

但这并不表示瞳孔扩张没有心理意义。事实上,至少在20世纪60年代心理学家就研究过,当我们(在生理上)被智力、情感、审美或性欲激发或刺激时,瞳孔是如何扩张的。这引发了一场争论,那就是瞳孔大的人(这有时被认为是性欲的标志)是否更有吸引力。有研究证实了这一点,有些是几十年前的研究,有些是最近的。我们也知道大脑会自动对他人瞳孔的扩张做出反应。

Either way, centuries prior to this research, folk wisdom certainly considered dilated pupils to be attractive. At various times in history women have even used a plant extract to deliberately dilate their pupils as a way to make themselves more attractive (hence the colloquial name for the plant: ‘belladonna’).

不管怎样,在此项研究之前的几个世纪,人们认为大瞳孔是有吸引力的。历史上,女性甚至使用植物提取物来专门扩大瞳孔,以增加自己的吸引力。因此这种植物被俗称为“美女草”。

But when you look another person deep in the eye, do not think it is just their pupils sending you a message. Other recent research suggests that we can read complex emotions from the eye muscles – that is, whether a person is narrowing or opening their eyes wide. So, for instance, when an emotion such as disgust causes us to narrow our eyes, this ‘eye expression’ – like a facial expression – also signals our disgust to others.

但是当你深望另一个人的眼睛时,不要认为只有他们的瞳孔在给你传递信息。最近的另一项研究表明,我们可以从眼部肌肉中读出复杂的情绪——看一个人是眯着眼睛还是睁大眼睛。譬如,当我们感到厌恶时会眯起眼睛,这种“眼部表情”就像面部表情一样,会向他人释放出厌恶的信号。

Yet another important eye feature are limbal rings: the dark circles that surround your irises. Recent evidence suggests that these limbal rings are more often visible in younger, healthier people, and that onlookers know this on some level, such that heterosexual women looking for a short-term fling judge men with more visible limbal rings to be more healthy and desirable.

另一个重要的眼部特征是角膜缘环,即虹膜周围的黑圈。最近有证据表明,较年轻且健康的人角膜缘环会更加明显。普通人也对此略有所知,比如想要短期恋情的异性恋女性认为,角膜缘环较明显的男性更健康、更有吸引力。

All these studies suggest there is more than a grain of truth to the old adage about the eyes being a window to the soul. In fact, there is something incredibly powerful about gazing deeply into another person’s eyes. They say that our eyes are the only part of our brain that is directly exposed to the world.

所有这些研究都表明,“眼睛是灵魂之窗”这句老话很有道理。事实上,凝视别人的眼睛拥有难以置信的力量,眼睛是大脑唯一与世界直接接触的部分。

When you look another person in the eye, then, just think: it is perhaps the closest you will come to ‘touching brains’ – or touching souls if you like to be more poetic about these things. Given this intense intimacy, perhaps it is little wonder that if you dim the lights and hold the gaze of another person for 10 minutes non-stop, you will find strange things start to happen, stranger perhaps than you’ve ever experienced before.

当你与他人对视时,不妨想想这可能是你最能“触摸大脑”的时刻,或者说得诗意一点,是最能“触摸灵魂”的时刻。鉴于眼神交流的亲密性,如果你把灯光调暗,盯着另一个人看10分钟,很可能会发生奇怪的事情,奇怪到你一生当中可能从未经历过的事。

“全文请访问纽约时报中文网,本文发表于纽约时报中文网(http://cn.nytimes.com),版权归纽约时报公司所有。任何单位及个人未经许可,不得擅自转载或翻译。订阅纽约时报中文网新闻电邮:http://nytcn.me/subscription/”

相关文章列表