Self-Relevance Effect

The self-relevance effect refers to the human tendency to wonder, "Is this about (or does it effect) me?" when evaluating other peoples' facial expressions. In research studies, subjects were presented with a large number of neutral faces that were shown with eyes looking straight ahead or averted. These images were paired with contextual sentences (about themselves or another person) and the subject was asked to evaluate their emotional reaction to these images combined with the text that they read. Through this study it was noted that statements combined with direct gaze created a more emotional response than did statements paired with an averted glance. The ultimate conclusion was that facial expressions and eye contact are a vital part of human communication.

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