Some fun videos from the eye tracking setup and video analysis I built for a study with colleagues from Utrecht University.
Details in Hessels, Cornelissen, Hooge, & Kemner (2017) "Gaze Behavior to Faces During Dyadic Interaction"
TL;DR: A lot of research into face perception and face scanning uses static images or videos that do not actually interact with you. So, we built a setup to track gaze during live interactions. The videos where people try to stare at one another without laughing show that it got pretty realistic (and they're a funny bonus).
Back in 2016 Chantal Kemner's lab at Utrecht University wanted to know where people look while they interact with another person. There are many publications about where people look in faces. Many of these studies claim to investigate the "social" behavior of looking another person in the face. At the same time almost all of them use images or videos of faces. "Social" implies some sort of interaction, but videos and images do not actually respond to anything you do. To address this issue, the lab needed a setup that would allow accurate gaze measurement during live interaction between two people. One requirement was that no eye tracking glasses could be used since they obscure parts of the face which could disturb where people look (and very young participants will likely play with them). Thus, we needed a screen-based eye tracker, meaning screens between the two people. Another requirement was that people needed to be able to make eye contact. If you have ever been on a video call you may have noticed that the other person does not seem to be looking at you, even if they look at your eyes on the screen. Only if the person looks right into the camera will it look like "eye contact" on the other side. To address this we used the principle of a teleprompter, where the camera is behind a mirror that reflects the display (this is also how the news anchor can read their lines while looking right into the camera). By aligning the cameras with the eyes of both participants, looking at each other's eyes gives the impression of eye contact. This might all sound pretty artificial, but the experience turned out to be very life-like. Staring one another in the face without responding turned out to be just as awkward as it is in real life. In the video above you can see how that usually went.