The characters on cereal boxes are staring at kids, and making friends by doing so.

A new study released by Cornell University found that on cereals marketed toward kids, the eyes of the cartoon characters on the box are shifted 9.6 degrees down on average, about the correct amount so that the eyes can lock into a loving gaze with a child in a supermarket isle.

It's well-known that box placement is important to brands, and the study found that the eye-gaze of the characters on the box is another trick to sell more cereal.

The report shows that eye contact with "spokes-characters" increased feelings of "trust and connection to the brand as well as choice of the brand over competitors."

So while we've always known that the characters on the boxes appealed to kids, we didn't know how they were impacting them.

The report's authors suggested that the findings could be used to appeal to younger consumers.

"Lessons learned from this study could be applicable for marketing healthier cereal more effectively to children to change consumption behaviors," they wrote.