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Registre de la Propietat Intel.lectual de Barcelona

Number: 02/2004/6728








Through the pathway:


Dominant Eye Optic Nerve Visual Cortex Cognitive Module


Dominance is transmitted and processed in instinctive and non-conscious form. That is the reason why staring directly the non-dominant eye avoids to a great extent the struggle that is settled by hierarchy reasons through sight; this, in turn, leads to improvement in interpersonal relations.

Pathways through which the dominance is transmitted and processed:


✧  In right-handed: Right EyeOptic Nerve (through Optic Chiasm) ➜ Visual CortexCognitive Module

✧  In left-handed: Left EyeOptic NerveVisual CortexCognitive Module

✧  In ambidextrous: Through any two routes, according lateralization of brain function





Eye Contact and Dominance


Face expressions, gestures and other elements of expressive behaviour in animals (bound by visual communication) are differentiated, graduated in a precise form, and show a high range of variability, which allows them to express with gestures the order of subordination that each animal occupies respect to its opponent. Limiting reductions in facial expressions (and global expressive behavior) originate problems in social communication. Such gradation of face expressions (and corporal language as a whole) is complemented, in evident form, with the sonorous system of gradual communication.

Visual communication is to be considered as fundamental, then, when processing all these stimuli, although beyond that function, it plays a capital role when establishing hierarchy by sight-dominance. This phenomenon is observable in many animal species, specially in the most evolved mammals and particularly in the primate order. Gorilla is the paradigmatic case. To maintain the staring eye fixed in an individual of its kind can be considered as a challenge by the opponent and trigger an immediate aggressive answer.

Equally, in human species, it might not seem dangerous to venture that some form of struggle for power and dominance through ocular contact can be established, although at instinctive (automatic and inevitable if ocular contact is not eluded), and unconscious (in most of cases) level.





Gall (1758-1828), was famous by its general Theory of Cerebral Localization, contemporarily known as Phrenology. This theory consists in the study of the correlation between skull surface features and individual traits.

Broca (1861), in its studies on aphasia, was the first to demonstrate that there exists a correspondence between a superior function (language) and a specific zone of the cerebral crust in the left hemisphere, beginning, thus, a new scientific doctrine of investigation in which a much more methodical and structured tendency of study was adopted.

However, localization theories strongly have been confronted by those who maintain a more holistic view of cerebral functioning. Investigations about the cerebral structure and its nervous connections, allowed to recognize the existence of relations between distant areas involved in a same function in the central nervous system.

Nowadays, Cognitive Neuropsychology accepts as one of its assumptions the existence of different components or modules, each one of them performing a certain and specific function. A module would be a component of the cognitive system with specific characteristics for each dominion, and independent at computational level, in the sense that it carries out his task without no type of influence of other components at a superior level and innately determined.





Each hemisphere has its weak and strong points with respect to a specific task. It seems that our encephalon consists of a left hemisphere with intellectual, rational and verbal capacity, with analytical reasoning; and a right hemisphere with capacities of sensorial, emotional and nonverbal discrimination, with intuitive reasoning. Although, despite of the surprising differences in the capacities of each hemisphere in isolation, when interconnected they seem to help one another in diverse verbal or non-verbal tasks.



Hemispheric Dominance of Brain Functions


Control of most forms of conduct learned by human individuals falls preferably in one of the cerebral hemispheres. About 90% of adult individuals use their right hand in a more skilful way. Therefore, in right-handed people the dominant cerebral hemisphere is the left one, because those are the motor centers of this side that control movement of the right hand; whereas it is considered that in left-handed people the right hemisphere is dominant, for the precision movements and hand abilities.

As it has been commented, the great majority population is homogenously right-handed. The homogenous dominant laterality is understood in an identical way in the three following levels:

✧   The dominant eye is the one that remains open when an eye is yawed.

✧   The dominant hand is above if we requested that fists closed one are placed on another one.

✧   The dominant foot is the one that is chosen when hopping.

Ocular dominance is defined generally as a preference in the use of one of the eyes as opposed to the other to develop a certain task. Besides, it would be impossible to relate the ocular dominance to cerebral dominance when we considered the chiasmatic semidecussation, since the information of each eye projects onto both cerebral hemispheres. Due to this characteristic, it is more correct to speak of dominance as a function of the specific task or ability and its location in the cerebral cortex.



Social Skills

Social Skills involved in the processing of dominance through eye contact would be located in one of the cerebral hemispheres. These skills, in a very significant percentage of the population are lateralized in the left hemisphere.

Since it is the most evolved species that manifest this type of behavior and all of them have a more developed prefrontal cortex than other species, this seems to be the most logical area in which to locate the cognitive module for processing dominance associated with eye contact.

In this Cognitive Module would process non-verbal stimuli of a communicational nature, such as gestures, postures, facial expressions... All of them are potential transmitters of dominance, although the stare seems to express it in a more atavistic and exalted way.






Empirical Evidence from the Experience


✧ Given the described characteristics of laterality and dominance between individuals, the appropriate technique consists of staring at the left eye (non-dominant) of right-handed people, and the right eye (non-dominant) of left-handed people.

✧ Positive effects are much more evident in dominant individuals and/or resistant individuals to dominance. It also becomes positive, although in smaller percentage, in shy individuals or people with difficulties for social relations (the presence or not of dominant traits would explain the variability with respect to the effectiveness of the technique in these types of individuals).

✧ Two traits of dominance, or two dimensions of the same trait are implicated: dominance and resistance to dominance; they do not correlate.

✧ In our society hierarchy settles or tries to settle itself down, based on such parameters as: intelligence, culture, creativity, capacity for work, etc. Biological dominance in general and in particular the one expressed through eye contact plays an anachronistic and disturbing role, this being the reason why its control or limitation results in a greater quality of the interpersonal relations and facilitates a more homogeneus hierarchisation based on the mentioned parameters.

✧ Although it would be sufficient avoiding the ocular contact to dissipate the power play when considering itself that to maintain the ocular contact it is a test of sincerity, self-confidence and credibility, the use of the proposed technique would revert, consequently, in the postulated improvement in interpersonal relations.

✧ Improvement of interpersonal relations takes place so much in the case of establishing new relations, as in already established ones.

✧ In ambidextrous people the technique will not produce any effect until the observer does find out which hemisphere exercises the ocular dominance of the subject. Experience makes it a quick process.

✧ Full coincidence is observed between dominant eye and dominant hand, and no cases have been observed from experience that contradict this assertion.

✧ Two important questions to consider for future studies on the matter of this theory. First to confirm, by means Neuroimage Techniques (Positron Emission Tomography would is best), the presence of neuronal activity before experimental situations of eye contact maintenance. Second to confirm, by means to design some scale or poll for Techniques "before" and "later" implementation that achieve a positive effect in interpersonal relations, if any. Obviously, personality traits of dominance and resistance to dominance must play a principal role in the experimental design.



psychologist & psychotherapist

Universitat de Barcelona [L]

U N E D [M]


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