How to read eyes for emotion

Have you ever heard of the old saying, ‘eyes are the windows to the soul?’ Well, it is not wrong at all. Eyes are fascinating organs that many people do not understand the power they have.

You can tell a lot about a person by observing their eye behavior and movement.

The power of gazing communicates various feelings of an individual, with or without their knowledge. By understanding the non-verbal cues from one’s eyes, you can tell whether a person is afraid, deceptive, sincere, or feeling attracted to you.

Let us find out how we can read eyes for emotions.

 Eye reading

Many body language experts deduce an individual’s state of emotions by gazing into their eyes. Since you cannot consciously change the size of your pupils, the eyes give accurate information about anyone, whether they like it or not.

So, how do we go about reading people’s emotions from their eyes?

1. Acknowledging the baseline

Before reading any non-verbal cues from the eyes of an individual, you have to baseline the eyes. A baseline is how someone’s eyes behave when they are under normal conditions.

You can easily establish a person’s baseline by sitting down with them and talking casually about non-threatening situations. Talk about any neutral topics, like the weather or what they had for dinner, that do not require the subject to lie and take note of their eye behavior.

Similarly, take notice of how they sound and how they hold their body.

Once you have established the baseline, now you can look at the following eye-related non-verbal cues to know whether they are hiding something from you, requiring you to dig deeper for more information.

2. Pupil size

Human expressions are quite challenging to figure out. However, our pupils give out large chunks of personal information, and we have no control over them.

When the pupil size decreases (contracts), it signifies that the person is not interested in the subject of discussion. It could be because of anger or something or someone offensive.

However, when the pupil dilates (the pupil size becomes bigger), there is a lot of interest and passion for the person we are talking to or the subject.

Alternatively, pupil dilation may also result from being somewhere dimly lit. For practice, converse with one of your friends about a passionate topic and watch their pupils dilate, and then switch to a less exciting topic and notice their pupils’ contract.

3. Eye Contact

When used as a socializing device, eye contact between two people interacting with each other reveals lots of information about people. It exhibits confidence and communicates emotions and feelings between people interacting with each other.

Eye contact is also an excellent skill among public speakers as it commands and keeps the attention of the audience. There are various types of eye contact, including:

1. Persistent eye contact

Many cultures in western societies expect eye contact to be regular but not persistent. Persistent eye contact is a sign of someone trying to intimidate someone else, causing the other person to feel uncomfortable and overly studied.

Overly persistent eye contact is also a sign of an individual’s over-awareness of the emitted messages. For instance, a person who is lying often distorts their eye contact so that they are not avoiding it.

Persistent eye contact is not advisable, even between non-humans and humans.

According to the New Zealand Medical Journal, the reason why numerous young children fall victim to attacks by pet dogs is because of persistent eye contact that causes the animal to feel anxious, threatened, and defensive.

2. Evasive eye contact

Often, people avoid making eye contact with the person they are interacting with as a sign of shame, discomfort, or deception.

However, Scotland’s University of Stirling found that children who maintained eye contact while answering questions were more likely to have the wrong answer, unlike those who looked away to consider their response.

4. Crying

Just like elephants and gorillas, humans let out an extreme experience of emotion by crying. Usually associated with sadness or grief, some people also cry as a result of immense happiness or impeccable humor.

Similarly, some people have mastered the art of ‘crocodile tears,’ where they force crying and removing actual tears as a form of deception or to gain sympathy from the audience.

5. Blinking

Reading emotions through the eyes does involve not only the pupils and the eyeballs but also the expressive power of our gaze.

A complex network of muscles and nerves, which also affects the being of the eyebrows, temples, and eyelids, allows human beings to gaze at someone or something.

As a result, the fluttering of eyelashes and blinking also reflects emotional activation every moment our eyes are open.

Apart from blinking due to natural instincts, we subconsciously alter our blinking rate depending on the emotions and feelings we have towards someone or a particular topic.

An average human being blinks about 6-10 times per minute.

If an individual blinks more times than this, it is a good indicator that they are attracted to the person they are talking to; hence, a sign of flirting. Blinking more intensely than usual is a mechanism that begins in the brain when we feel nervous or anxious.

Therefore, it is crucial to focus on the conversation or the context of discussion when reading eyes for emotions.

6. Winking

Among the Western cultures, winking is a cheeky sign of flirting with people whom we are familiar with or are on good terms.

However, there are cross-cultural variations when it comes to winking. For instance, communities of Asian descent frown upon the use of this type of facial expression.

7. Eye direction

Observing the eye direction of an individual basically reveals what they are seeing.

However, it is vital to follow the eye direction of a particular person when they are thinking about something. When a person looks to their left, it often means they are trying to remember or reminiscing about something or someone.

Alternatively, if they are looking to their right, it often shows that they are having creative thoughts, mainly depicted as a potential sign of being deceitful in certain situations.

They might be creating a different version of events, apart from the truth.

Take note that the situation is reversed if a person is left-handed. Similarly, if you are talking to a person who is looking side to side, it is an indicator that they are lying or timid.

Often found among insecure people or when talking to children, these people escape your gaze by looking side to side, instead of maintaining direct visual eye contact.

It is also crucial to note that deceptive people have elusive eyes, which is not as apparent as seen in shy people or those with social anxiety.

Therefore, you must pay maximum attention when reading the intentions and emotions of an individual to pick up on any insincere traits.

One of the key traits of a great mentalist is being able to read minds; here’s how they do it.

8. Visual synchrony

You do not need to be a master at reading eye-related non-verbal cues to perceive peace and harmony at any given moment.

When it comes to people with whom we share feelings of affection, like family and friends, we have visual synchrony with them, meaning that there is mimicking of visual gestures and sharing of facial micro-expressions.


Glances from the eyes are an excellent way to transmit a wide array of emotional and social information. Eye reading is often overlooked, but it is also a sincere and easy to understand method of reading emotions.

If you want to show interest in what someone is saying, make eye contact with them. However, keep in mind that unblinking stares are very disconcerting.

When people talk about an exciting topic, their eyes remain focused on each other for about 80% of the time, but not exclusively on the eyes. When you look to the right and up, it shows that you are dismissing the other person or bored.