How an averted gaze from a stranger in the street can make us feel less connected

http://www.psychologicalscience.org/index.php/news/releases/being-ignored-hurts-even-by-a-stranger.html

A research assistant walked along a well-populated path, picked a subject, and either met that person’s eyes, met their eyes and smiled, or looked in the direction of the person’s eyes, but past them—past an ear, for example, “looking at them as if they were air,” Wesselmann says. When the assistant had passed the person, he or she gave a thumbs-up behind the back to indicate that another experimenter should stop that person. The second experimenter asked, “Within the last minute, how disconnected do you feel from others?”

People who had gotten eye contact from the research assistant, with or without a smile, felt less disconnected than people who had been looked at as if they weren’t there.

- Purdue University, USA and Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata in Argentina.