Is eye-rolling hazardous to your health? (Guest Commentary)

Surprising research on ostracism reveals negative health impacts
By Sharone Bar-David
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 04/24/2012

You may have done it more than once. Someone on the team was behaving in his usual irritating way. Fed up and annoyed, you looked at another colleague and rolled your eyes. No big deal, just a spontaneous and harmless venting of authentic feelings.

But if Kipling Williams, a professor in the psychological sciences department at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., were in the vicinity, he’d be eager to study that annoying person’s reactions to your eye-rolling. He’d examine his brain under a functional MRI (fMRI) machine to check which parts were activated when he was subjected to your eye-rolling. And he’d administer tests to trace your behaviour’s exact impact on the person.

Williams, a leading researcher on ostracism, will then be able to show you how the person’s dorsal anterior cingulated cortex (dACC) was fully activated in reaction to your eye-rolling.