Prior to engaging in any discussion of gaze, it is important to first define gaze as the directionality of eye contact, either sustained or fleeting, that is attributed to an intentional act. Further, one must acknowledge that all of the varied patterns of gaze operate within a larger communicative framework. That is, gaze is one component of an integrated message that operates in coordination with speech, facial expression, body positioning, and gesture within a contextually rich communication environment to achieve the speaker’s desired intention.

The communicative environment within which gaze operates should be viewed in terms of the physical and personal factors comprising this context. The physical environment acts as a resource to support meaningful gaze action. It does this through the available referents as well ...

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