Conversation and Eye Contact: Can They Coexist?
Name: Stephen Wilkins ’23
Majors: Neuroscience and Psychology
Hometown: Mullica Hill, N.J.
Project Title: The Difficulty of Making Eye Contact While Talking
Faculty Adviser: Joel Bish
My research this summer focuses on the ability to make eye contact with the person you are speaking to. Basically, I am seeing whether the more a person has to think about what they are saying influences their ability to make eye contact. This will be done using an eye tracker in the lab.
Nonverbal communication is a very important part of effective communication in general, and eye contact plays a big part in that. I hope that my research this summer will be able to help provide a further understanding of this skill, as there is actually very little research in this area. It is significant in my area of study because something normally in the field of social psychology, communication, is not normally measured with the neuroscience-based equipment I am using.
I have learned how to use eye trackers and fNIR equipment, which has been a great opportunity for me. I have also learned about designing a proper experiment and what that process looks like from the inside. The Summer Fellows program has enhanced my UC experience simply because of all the abilities to learn things about doing research that don’t normally exist in the classroom.
My favorite part of Summer Fellows so far has been the Wednesday presentations. I’ve learned a lot of interesting information from them so far, and I look forward to attending them the rest of the program.