College students were given the Multidimensional Self-Esteem Inventory. For each subscale of the inventory, they were classified as having either high self-esteem (top 40% of the scorers) or low self-esteem (bottom 40% of the scorers). Several weeks after the assessment of self-esteem, they watched a 60-s videotape in which a model maintained eye contact with an interviewer for either 5 s or 50 s. After viewing the tape, the students again completed the Multidimensional Self-Esteem Inventory, but this time as they thought the model in the tape would complete it. The general pattern of the results was that high self-esteem students perceived greater self-esteem in the model in the 50-s tape compared to the 5-s tape, whereas low self-esteem students perceived greater self-esteem in the model in the 5-s tape compared to the 50-s tape. The results show the importance of an observer's own self-esteem in the formation of impressions based on eye contact. Implications for further research are discussed.
Lagomarsino, Jennifer; Gallagher, Michelle; Yankalunas, Sara; Brooks, Charles I.; and O'Brien, Jean P.
"Perception of a Model's Self-Esteem as a Function of Observer Self-Esteem and Model's Duration of Eye Contact,"
The Psychological Record:
2, Article 7.
Available at: http://opensiuc.lib.siu.edu/tpr/vol48/iss2/7