An investigation of some effects of dark-glasses on interpersonal behavior



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Eye-accessibility was altered in an interpersonal situation by means of dark-glasses. The effects of this on comfort, self-disclosure and eye-dynamics were investigated. Forty-eight male Ss were given an interview which required disclosure of embarrassing information. The experimenter was the interviewer. Subjects were randomly assigned to one of four eye-accessibility conditions: (a) neither S nor E wore dark-glasses, (b) only S wore dark-glasses, (c) only E wore dark-glasses and (d) both S and E wore dark-glasses. The dependent measures were: (a) comfort, (b) amount of self-disclosure and (c) intimacy of self-disclosure. Duration and frequency of eye-contact and average length of glance were the measures of eye dynamics used. Eye dynamics measures were used as control variables. It was expected that blockage of Ss' eyes would result in greater amounts and intimacy of self-disclosure and comfort and that blockage of E's eyes from the view of S. would have the opposite effect. Statistical significance was not reached on any of the measures. Rough trends in the expected direction emerged on amount of self-disclosure and comfort. On intimacy of self-disclosure, a rough trend in the direction opposite to that expected was observed. An explanation for this was offered in terms of the relationship of eye-accessibility with availability to E's demands for self-disclosure. Relationships among the measures of eye dynamics suggest that certain glancing patterns may be related to different eye-accessibility conditions. It is concluded on the basis of phenomenal evidence from Ss' comments during the debriefing sessions and rough trends in the data, that dark-glasses and altered eye-accessibility did have some impact on the interpersonal situation in the interview.