Gaze detection is a fancy way of saying I know when someone is looking at me from somewhere far enough away that it makes me wonder firstly how I know that person is looking directly at me, not just in my direction and second why do I know this. The why part is simple, scientifically gaze detection is a primal instinct, a part of my brain was specifically designed to be aware when another person is communicating with me in a non-verbal fashion. Furthermore…
“This ‘gaze detection’ system is especially sensitive to whether someone’s looking directly at you (for example, whether someone’s staring at you or at the clock just over your shoulder). Studies that record the activity of single brain cells find that particular cells fire when someone is staring right at you, but—amazingly—not when the observer’s gaze is averted just a few degrees to the left or right of you (then different cells fire instead).” – Ilan Shrira social psychologist
…human survival has become dependent on coordinating our efforts with other people, so communicating has become more crucial to survival. The same is true for our development of language.
Eye gaze can express many things that spoken language can’t, like immediate danger in an environment, which brings me back to our primal abilities as human beings and mammals…but it can also be used for intimidation, influence, and intimacy.
More often than not we advert our gaze too quickly out of anxiety and fear from even the people we are closest with.
I am left to wonder that if communication can go beyond language, then why are we compelled to look away so quickly?