Study: Listening Is More Important Than Looking When It Comes to Feelings

BOSTON (CBS) – We’re always taught that good eye contact is important for communication but a new study suggests that if you want to know how someone is feeling, you might want to close your eyes and listen.

In a series of experiments involving more than 1,800 subjects, researchers at Yale found that people who listened without looking were more likely to correctly identify someone’s emotions. People did even better than people that both looked and listened.

Previous research has been focused on the importance of facial cues, but this study suggests that perhaps we’re paying too much attention to the face and that someone’s voice is much more likely to betray their emotions.

One theory is that we’re better at using facial expressions to mask our emotions. Another is that too much information can be distracting and it may be hard to look and listen well at the same time.

More from Dr. Mallika Marshall
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