2019. № 3 (21), 222-241

 Lomonosov Moscow State University, Institute of Linguistics RAS


The paper considers the communicative function of the gaze from different points of view. First, the author introduces basic information from the field of physiology of oculomotor activity, including the contraposition of fixations and saccades, the main metrics used, and the uniqueness of the human eye in terms of its communicative function. Then, the history of eyetracking — the method of the registration of eye movements, consisting of four main stages, — is described. A separate section is dedicated to the research of eye movements in everyday communication, including doing housework, walking and communication in non-laboratory settings. Then, the main functions of eye movements in natural communication are described: monitoring function, regulatory function, expressive function and eye contact. Finally, a qualitative and quantitative analyses of a small fragment with a duration of about 8.5 minutes of natural communication between the three interlocutors, two of which are equipped with eyetracking glasses, is proposed. It is shown that the use of different metrics — the number and duration of fixations or gazes — gives fundamentally different results. In this study, the main quantitative characteristic of interlocutors’ communication is the number of their gazes. When comparing the gazes of three interlocutors, it turns out that they are well synchronized with each other and are described almost without exception by several rules.