What Is Intense Eye Contact?

Intense eye contact, also known as power gazing, is the act of directing the eyes intently on something or someone as a means to show power without aggression. Intense or constant eye contact is commonly perceived as condescending, hostile or rude in many cultures.

In a business context, intense eye contact can be perceived as a deliberate method to intimidate, dominate, belittle or impose a disadvantage on another person. Intense eye contact does not always indicate negative connotations. For example, many people increase eye contact when they are surrounded by people who they admire or who have authority over them, and in some cases, increased eye contact can indicate a close relationship between two people communicating. Intense or passionate discussion topics can also prompt increased eye contact from a participant.

Intense eye contact is comparable to staring. When a person stares, the eyes are typically wider than usual and less blinking occurs. Staring often indicates interest in someone or something. People also stare or have intense eye contact when they are in shock or disbelief after hearing unexpected news. Increased eye contact, though, in most cases is associated with aggression, especially among people who are not as familiar with each other. Intense eye contact often makes the recipient feel uncomfortable or embarrassed by the attention.