posted by ree on .
True or False: Americans tend to look at others above the neck or below the knees. Looking at other parts of a person’s body is considered impolite, while looking at anyone for more than three to five seconds can be interpreted as staring.
What do you think?
It's true for the people I see. However, you may see people staring at people's torsos.
Actually, this is a very poor question. I suggest you complain to your teacher about this.
If we're talking with someone, we're expected to look them in the eyes.
I agree with Ms. Sue on the quality of the question. The situation is much more complex than the question implies.
Our eyes are attracted to motion, so it makes a difference if the person is still or moving. Rarely do people look below the knees, unless there is movement there.
If eye contact is made, an acknowledgement is typically made ("hello," nod of the head, smile, and/or eyebrow flash [raising both eyebrows]). If the look is continued without one or more of these, it is typically perceived as a hostile move, attempting dominance. The first person to drop their eyes indicates submission.
It also depends on the gender of the looker and the one being seen. As a man, I tend to look a good-looking woman up and down. She may not even be aware that I am looking at her.