How charisma shapes a leader’s gaze behavior: An eye-tracking study

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Maran, T., Liegl, S., Furtner, M., & Ravet-Brown, T. (2023). How charisma shapes a leader’s gaze behavior: An eye-tracking study. Internation Journal of Psychology, 58(S1), 683. (ABS_2021: 1)

Publication type

Article in Scientific Journal


One of the key tasks of modern-day leaders is to influence and share their vision with their followers, thus motivating them to excel at their performance. Charisma, though recently criticized due to its endogenous definition, is often quoted as being the key to effective motivation. In order to overcome this limitation of charisma, namely a conceptualization defined largely by its outcomes, it should rather be conceived as a signal that invigorates emotional and behavioral reactions in perceivers. By employing eye-tracking technology in an experimental task, the aim of this study was to add a piece to the puzzle surrounding the concrete behaviors that constitute a leader's charismatic aura. Participants were placed in a leader role and tasked with influencing their followers towards committing to a common goal. Their gaze behavior was recorded during the entire interaction. Results showed consistently that participants' self-rated charisma predicted prolonged and more frequent gazes towards their followers' eyes. Following a two-dimensional approach to charisma revealed that leaders, who tend to charismatically influence others, were more prone to display increased eye-directed gaze, whereas those, who rather socialize with others in a charismatic way, did not differ in gaze behavior from less charismatic individuals. These findings therefore provide first evidence for the signaling function of leaders' gaze behavior and move us a step closer to decoding the behavioral underpinnings of charisma.


Organizational Units

  • Liechtenstein Business School
  • Entrepreneurship & Leadership

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