There is a considerable body of research showing that eye contact is a key component of social interaction. Not only are people more aroused when they are looked at directly, but if you consistently look at the person you speak to, you will have much more social influence over that person than you would if you averted your gaze.
The problem arises when you address a group of people. How do you pick who to engage visually? Most public speakers are encouraged to look around the room, alternating eye contact with individuals in the audience. But there’s no way to look at everyone at once — so some of your potential social influence will by necessity be lost.
Now, a team led by Jeremy Bailenson has figured out a way to get around that limitation. In a virtual reality environment, there is no need for the representations of other people to be consistent. Since each individual’s virtual experience is generated separately, in a “room” full of people, each person could experience the phenomenon of everyone else looking at them. Everyone can be the center of attention, all at the same time!
–linkswipe via reddit