Interpreting non-verbal information is one of the biggest social challenges for individuals with Aspergers. In my ongoing internet research, I have come across some excellent articles by authors in different fields. I am honored to have Steven Aitchison’s permission to share this article with you.
About Steven Aitchison: In His Own Words
I was born and raised in Scotland, UK and stay in the west of Scotland with my wife and two sons who I adore. I work as an addiction worker, counseling clients with alcohol and drug addictions.
Why did I start my blog, Change Your Thoughts?
My life has been far from perfect and I have experienced a lot of issues in my life such as depression, bankruptcy, debt, confidence issues, self esteem issues, poor self image and feelings of worthlessness. I have managed to turn this around over the course of twenty years and (I am now 40) I honestly could not be happier. I started the blog 3 years ago as I love writing and it was self help books from the likes of Jack Black (the Personal Development Jack, not the film star jack), Anthony Robbins, Og Mandino and others which helped me all those years ago. I turned my attention to writing self help articles and found I loved it and the interaction with readers was great so I had found my new passion.
I truly believe that no matter where you are in life, no matter how bad you think your life is you can turn it around, I know, I have done it myself and i didn’t believe it would be possible at one point so I know how you feel if you are in the same situation. If you are looking to tweak your life a little then Change Your Thoughts is also a great place to hang out.
Aspergers Communication Tips: What Your Eyes (And Other’s Eyes) Can Tell You
Your eyes can tell a lot about you and tell others even more simply by the way you use them. Eye communication is a great skill to have and eye contact is a great tool to master. We all use it and we all give away vital clues as to what we are thinking with our eyes.
References are made to our eyes in everyday conversation such as ‘she has bedroom eyes’, ‘don’t give me those puppy dog eyes’, ‘giving me the evil eye’ and many more such phrases.
If you can learn the skill of reading eye signals and mastering the art of using eye contact it can make a huge difference in your personal and business life.
Your pupils and the size of them will give away a lot of secrets, and it’s something we can’t do much about. The pupils will either constrict or dilate depending on our state of mind. If we are aroused by something, or someone, our pupils will dilate and if we are turned off by something or someone our pupils will constrict.
Skilled street traders across the world look for the size of the pupils when bartering with their customers. If a customer sees an object and their pupils are fully dilated, then the trader knows they can keep the price of the item at the higher end.
When we are excited by someone we like, our pupils will dilate, and when we are in the company of someone we don’t like, our pupils will constrict.
Take a look at these two photos. Which one do you prefer?
The first photo shows the pupils constricted and the second photo shows the pupils dilated. The one with the pupils dilated would normally be the one that people picked, as it is more seductive and deemed more attractive when the pupils are dilated.
Next time you are talking to someone pay attention to the size of their pupils, don’t go right up to their face and make a nuisance of yourself, but just casually watch the size of their pupils. This will tell you what excites them when they are talking, it might also tell you if they like you or not as we can rarely hide our emotions with our eyes.
Different Types of Eyes
Have you ever noticed when you are talking to someone that their eyes are looking everywhere and not at you. This in itself is an obvious sign of distraction or boredom however, it also means that the person is looking for a way to get out of your space. Looking out a window when someone is talking to you could mean they would rather be outside.
If you do this, be careful of the signals you are giving to the other person, unless you specifically want them to know you don’t want to be with them.
The Angry Eyes
When we are angry our eyes become narrower, brows are furrowed and our pupils constrict. It’s quite easy to tell if someone is angry when they have all of the above. what if they don’t show the above body language signals? Well, we have to look for other body language clues such as constriction of the lips, flared nostrils, staring, clenching of the jaw etc.
When you are speaking to someone who is displaying signs of anger you can either back down or stand up for yourself, depending on what the situation warrants.
If you stand up for yourself you should be holding eye gaze and not break it. This shows the other person that you are not intimidated by them. If you are the one to break eye contact in a heated argument you have all but lost the argument.
The Seductive Eyes
It’s quite easy to tell if someone likes us by the size of their pupils. In a well lit room, if you are speaking to someone face to face you can see the size of the other person pupils. If the eyes start to dilate they are interested in what you have to say or they find you attractive.
However, this is not so true in a darkened room like a nightclub as the size of our pupils will dilate to let more light in, in order to see better in the darkened room. So be careful to read the signals correctly before making a fool of yourself.
There are other ways to seduce someone with your eyes. The classic Lady Diana look with her head down and eyes looking up was one of the reasons so many people warmed to her. This type of look makes the observer feel more maternal or paternal and also brings out the protector in men which made Lady Di more attractive.
When we are talking to our friends and in social situations, and are looking and talking with another person for some time we unconsciously gaze at the persons face in a controlled manner. However, if we have lost confidence or we are not yet socially adept we can lose this ability. Here is a quick guide on where to focus your gaze when talking to someone.
When you are speaking in a social setting you don’t want to stare into someone’s eyes as this is a bit strange for someone to do, and a bit off-putting for the talker. To get over this, use a triangle approach. First look at one eye of the talker, then look at their mouth, briefly, and then move onto their other eye. This shows you are still interested in what they have to say as you have not looked away from their face.
The Flirty Gaze
When we flirt with each other the eyes still move in a triangular way but with more range, downwards. I know the women reading this will have experienced men who think you are talking from your breasts, which is quite disconcerting, and I’ll explain a possible reason for this, apart from the obvious. However, we all do it, men and women, only women are better at it.
It has been shown that when we are walking toward each other from a distance, men and women, automatically check each other from head to foot. First time to check the sex of the person and second time to check the sexiness of the person.
Men are more likely to get caught checking out a females body, rather than looking them in the eye, because they have less peripheral vision than women. Women can look you in the face but still look at your body because their peripheral vision is much better.
Our eyes contain two types of photo-receptors; rods and cones. Rods are responsible for scotopic vision, dark adapted vision. They also predominate the peripheral vision and women have more rods in their eyes than men do; hence why they have better peripheral vision and are better at seeing in the dark.
The Controlling Gaze
If you are looking to intimidate someone when you are talking to them, or are trying to control the conversation look at the area known as ‘the third eye’ which is the spot just between the eyebrows.
Many men do this to try and intimidate the people they are talking to and to try and control a conversation.
Can you tell if someone is lying with their eye movements?
Short answer to that is no. However, by looking at other body language signals and looking at their eyes you can get a good idea if someone is lying or not.
With the work of Bandler and Grinder and their excellent work on NLP we have an idea of how our eye movements relate to how we access information from the brain, which can help to tell is someone is lying or not.
Visual Accessing Cues
(VC) Visual Construction : Looking up and to the left. The person is accessing information from their imagination and might possibly be making it up. For example, if you asked someone what their dream home would look like they would, more than likely, look up and to their left.
If someone is lying about something and making stories up they might be using this eye movement.
(VR) Visual Remembering : Looking up and to the right. This is when we are actually accessing a memory and picturing it in our heads. It is more than likely that this is a memory that actually happened. Ask your friend what they had for dinner yesterday and they will most likely look up and to the right.
(AC) Auditory Construction : Looking middle and to the left. This is where our eyes might go if we were constructing a sound in our mind. For example if you asked a friend to think of what their voice will sound like when they are 80 years old, they would more than likely look in this direction.
(AR) Auditory Remembering : Looking middle and to the right. This is where our eyes might go if you were remembering a sound that you have heard before. For example ask your friend what the sound of their partner sounds like and they will more than likely look in this direction.
(K) Kinesthetic :Looking down and to the left. This is the direction your eyes might go if you were accessing your actual feelings about something. For example, if you ask a friend about their feelings on the issues of capital punishment their eyes might go in this direction.
(AD) Auditory Digital : Looking down and to the right. This is the direction our eyes might go when we are talking to ourselves. We do this all the time and it is called self talk. Believe it or not we talk to ourselves a lot and we can learn a lot about ourselves by paying attention to our self talk, but that is for another article.
The information above represents the majority of people, but it may be different for some. However, it is still possible to work out a persons representational system by observing them when you ask them questions.
Using the information above should get you started on the road to being able to read people using their eyes as signals. Remember, as with all body language signals, that they should be read together and not separately.
What has been your experience with reading non-verbal expressions? Do you have any experiences or resources to share?