In December of 2015, the National Institute for Psychological Science in Japan performed a study that demonstrated that strong interpersonal bonds could be created between two strangers with just a few minutes of direct eye contact.
Shortly there after, in January 2016, a list of 36 questions were published in an article in the New York Times. These questions were developed by psychologist Arthur Aron, who believes them to be the only thing needed for two strangers to fall in love with one another.
Eye wear manufacturer Ray-Ban have decided to do a mashup of the two by launching Eye to Eye: A Social Experiment in Courage. The goal is for two strangers to ask each other these 36 questions while maintaining eye contact for four straight minutes.
So far, the results have been rather astonishing. One male participant, who had only just met his partner in the experiment moments earlier, went on to share intimate details usually reserved only for those closest to him.
“When I was 13 years old I came home from soccer practice one day and my mum was lying on the ground, she was dying,” he said. “Discovering her was the most insanely traumatic event of my life.”
Other examples of the bonds formed in only minutes comes from a transgender woman who felt comfortable sharing the details of the moment in her life where she realized who she wanted to be.
A middle aged breast cancer survivor shared the challenges she's had to face. “I was living with my boyfriend, and he couldn’t handle me having breast cancer, and after I had my mastectomy, we broke up. So I’m single, and dating, and online, and trying to see what it’s like to date as a breast cancer survivor in her 40s. I just have the term carpe diem in my mind.”
A representative for Ray-Ban said the goal for the campaign was to, “communicate that courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it, that is not just physical bravery but is what pushes people to face their fears and to go beyond their limits.”
After completing one of the four-minute sessions, one participant commented, “I feel like some weight’s been lifted off my chest”, calling the experience “therapeutic.”