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D&D Monster Study Proves Eyes Have It 196

sciencehabit writes with this excerpt from Science: "The dungeon is pitch black — until the dungeon master blazes a torch, confirming your worst fears. A Beholder monster lurches at you, its eyeballs wriggling on tentacular stems. As you prepare to wield your Vorpal sword, where do you focus your gaze: at the monster's head or at its tentacle eyes? Such a quandary from the role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons may seem like a meaningless trifle, but it holds within it the answer to a tricky scientific question: Do people focus their gaze on another person's eyes or on the center of the head? In fact, a father-son team has used D&D monsters to show that most people will look to another creature's eyes, even if they're not attached to a head."
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D&D Monster Study Proves Eyes Have It

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  • Boobies (Score:5, Funny)

    by PoopManners ( 2764379 ) on Wednesday October 31, 2012 @12:01PM (#41831099)
    I don't watch at eyes, I watch at boobs amirite?
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I don't watch at eyes, I watch at boobs amirite?

      Those tits certainly have the look.

      • Re:Boobies (Score:5, Insightful)

        by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Wednesday October 31, 2012 @12:25PM (#41831377) Homepage Journal
        Actually...get the boob looking out of the way before you approach her....

        For building repoire with a girl you're trying to meet....give them eye contact, and usually...have them to be the first one to drop it, dominance thing.

        This isn't just with meetings, or when I'm trying to push my agenda, etc...I generally focus my gaze usually directly into their right eye (just pick one, doesn't really matter that much I don't think)...but with that situation or even just friendly imparts to people that YOU are engaged in them, and interested and listening to them.

        Staring at the floor, or something else on them...just doesn't cut it, if you're wanting to truly interact with them, or especially want to exert your influence...I find that doing the right eye contact is a big help.

        • Re:Boobies (Score:5, Funny)

          by amicusNYCL ( 1538833 ) on Wednesday October 31, 2012 @12:55PM (#41831753)

          I generally focus my gaze usually directly into their right eye (just pick one, doesn't really matter that much I don't think)

          I had a roommate with eyes that focused in different directions, I would usually look at the eye that wasn't looking at me to make him keep shifting his gaze.

          • I had a roommate with eyes that focused in different directions, I would usually look at the eye that wasn't looking at me to make him keep shifting his gaze.

            Marty Feldman Jr?

        • Re:Boobies (Score:5, Funny)

          by al.caughey ( 1426989 ) on Wednesday October 31, 2012 @01:08PM (#41831921)

          I knew I came to /. for a reason... and I just figured out that it is to get expert advice on social skills and how to meet girls

        • by houghi ( 78078 )

          I generally focus my gaze usually directly into their right eye

          As you are apparently into a staring contest of some sort, you better NOT look into the eyes, but right between them Much easier as you will not be tempted to look into the other.

          The other person will look into your eyes and then will often go from one to the other. As you are not looking into the eye(s) you will not do that.

          OTOH if you are not in a staring contest, letting you eyes wander a bit around the face will make you more human and let p

          • I hate looking at people's eyes (probably aspergers) so I always use the bridge of the nose or a zit or something to focus on. Otherwise, the urge to look away is overwhelming.
          • You're right...I forgot those details..

            Of course, I don't stare indefinitely....with women, they often will avert the initial eye contact first...after that, I look in the eyes, but away too when appropriate.

            Too much and you do look like a creep or strange for sure...haha.

            And yes, forgot to say...sometimes between the eyes....I vary between that and picking one predominate eye to focus on......

        • by Kozz ( 7764 )

          On the other hand, if you want to really weird someone out, stare at one of their ears when speaking to them. They may start moving laterally to move their face to be centered on your gaze. Most amusing when done with people you already know, just to mess with them. ;)

        • Depends on the situation. I find that in many cases, people from Asia tend to not look you too hard or long in the eyes, as it's sometimes considered disrespectful.

          I guess it's all in what you're hoping to achieve.

          Personally, I find myself looking a the person's mouth when they're talking. I have to force myself to look someone in the eyes when I catch myself doing that. Don't know if means I'm submissive or what...

        • I generally focus my gaze usually directly into their right eye (just pick one, doesn't really matter that much I don't think)

          There's a NOVA episode [] that showed humans naturally look at the right eye first when seeing a face. (Meaning, we look left at the right eye of the other person). They went on to show that dogs do the same thing, theoretically a behavior that evolved as humans and dogs integrated socially.

          However, this is a quick glance, not a stare.

        • by Greyfox ( 87712 )
          I hear the next revision will include an eye-boob monster (or maybe a boob-eye monster) so you don't have to choose!
    • Re:Boobies (Score:5, Funny)

      by HornWumpus ( 783565 ) on Wednesday October 31, 2012 @12:07PM (#41831175)

      Old joke: Why don't men look women in the eyes? Cause their eyes aren't on their tits.

    • What's the female version of that then? Our clothes? lol
    • Maybe you need a woman with jiggly eyes.

    • Beholders don't have boobs you insensitive clod!

      • by Greyfox ( 87712 )
        Great. Now I need to find some cheap artist on Deviantart who's willing to do some beholder pics. Like a hot sexy beholder with boobies, and a beholder that has boobies instead of eyes. *sigh* off I go...
  • Eyes show emotion (Score:5, Interesting)

    by captaindomon ( 870655 ) on Wednesday October 31, 2012 @12:07PM (#41831167)
    It has been shown many times in studies that people are able to read a lot of emotion by looking at another person's eyes. Looking at foreheads doesn't give you a tactical advantage, but if you can look in someone's eyes you can see what they are feeling most of the time. You can also see where they are looking, and where their attention is at, which is critical. Of course, good magicians know this and look at the wrong things at the wrong times to mislead you ;)
    • by tiberus ( 258517 )

      It would be interesting to see what could be gleamed from just seeing someones eyes without the context of the rest of the face. I'd think the only tell whether their eyes were open, where they were looking and how moist the eye was. The rest of the information about interest and emotional state from viewing the eye in context of the face.

      I thought nose was the center of the head, at least from the front, isn't the forehead near the top?

    • More than that- the eyes orient you to the center of the head, which is important. One of the techniques you are supposed to use in soccer and football is to watch someones midriff so you aren't tricked by someone trying to misdirect which way you are headed. Kind of the same thing....
    • Re:Eyes show emotion (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ideonexus ( 1257332 ) on Wednesday October 31, 2012 @01:11PM (#41831965) Homepage Journal
      One of my martial arts teachers always instructed me to focus my gaze on my opponent's solar plexus so that I could see what their legs and arms were doing in the peripheral vision and to never move the gaze from that point so as not to telegraph my intention with my eyes. Kick boxing ended up being probably the most important class I ever took in my life. It taught me to never get in a fight.
    • Re:Eyes show emotion (Score:4, Interesting)

      by alexgieg ( 948359 ) <> on Wednesday October 31, 2012 @01:29PM (#41832243) Homepage

      It has been shown many times in studies that people are able to read a lot of emotion by looking at another person's eyes.

      This is also the main reason most manga and anime authors prefer to draw big eyes. They're a much easier way to transmit emotions than body postures, allowing for a faster drawing process. In fact, one of the ways they to show a character (usually a villain) as having little to no emotion is by drawing small eyes on him, what also serves as contrast between pure lack of emotion and mere introversion (a character with cold demeanor plus big eyes). Lead characters, in contrast, have the biggest eyes in the cast. And if it's a soap story directed towards female teens you'll find HUGE eyes almost everywhere.

      As a side note for those who don't know: there are tons of "small eyed" manga. Those are usually directed towards adults. What actually defines manga as a style isn't eye size then, but scene transition, which is based on action movies. That's why supposed "manga" drawn by Western authors usually feels wrong to fans: even though their characters are manga-like, their scene transition tends to follow super-hero comics patterns, with lots of poses, high expectation "halted impact" scenes, and step-by-step slow-motion-like narrative. Hence, not manga.

    • I wonder how accurate this study is, but that being said, the relationship between eyes and emotion is well established. Don't take it from me, take it from Sir Michael Caine! []
  • But... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Conspiracy_Of_Doves ( 236787 ) on Wednesday October 31, 2012 @12:07PM (#41831169)

    But the head IS a giant eye.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      And a vorpal sword is going to be terrible against a beholder. The natural 20 auto-kill bonus is going to be useless. A regular +5 sword is going to be considerably more effective.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        So the next person doesn't wonder why:

        The vorpal sword's "auto-kill" is supposed to involve separating the critter's head from wherever that is being kept. If your enemy is a floating head, you will be about as effective as Galstaff.

        On that note, where's the Mountain Dew?

      • I'm disappointed that I searched for this answer before posting it myself.

      • Against the rear or flanks of it, yes, but it really doesn't matter what you use against the front, because the beholder turns to face those attacking it. Thusly you'll be in the effect of the Anti-Magic Eye, temporarily making any magic in front of it, useless. So what you do, is send the Tank up right front and center....his job is to stay right in front of it...and kill the eyestalks. Because he is in the anti-magic effect,the stalks can't be targeted at him because they don't work. It's the stalks t

    • Beholder mages put out their central eye, though yes, the average beholder has a giant eye in the middle of their head.

      I'll go back to not getting laid now.
  • by sl4shd0rk ( 755837 ) on Wednesday October 31, 2012 @12:08PM (#41831199)

    Being in IT support, we see many people come in without eyes, or common sense, attached to their head. Many times, the head is firmly impacted in the nether regions but this malady is most common with upper management.

    • Having been in IT support in a healthcare environment, we had a term for that: Cranial-rectal colocation. It comes in two kinds, acute (for short periods) or chronic (seemingly all the time). Our group had diagnosed several cases of CCRC before I left for greener pastures, but I still use the term today.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 31, 2012 @12:08PM (#41831201)
    I, and I imagine most slashdotters, look at my feet when interacting with other people. Especially women.
    • by vlm ( 69642 ) on Wednesday October 31, 2012 @12:43PM (#41831579)

      I, and I imagine most slashdotters, look at my feet when interacting with other people. Especially women.

      Why are your keyboard and monitor by your feet? I'm not flexible enough to type that way anymore.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Darby ( 84953 )

      I, and I imagine most slashdotters, look at my feet when interacting with other people. Especially women.

      Not me. I'm a bold, dashing ladies' man. I look at their feet.

  • Survival Advantage. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Tackhead ( 54550 ) on Wednesday October 31, 2012 @12:09PM (#41831213)

    There was a profound and significant bias towards looking early and often at the eyes of humans and humanoids and also, critically, at the eyes of monsters.

    Makes sense. There's a survival advantage whether you're predator or prey, it doesn't matter if you can see it, it's whether or not it can see you. Being able to see its head, claws, or gelsacs is useful, but the thing that gives you a survival advantage is knowing whether or not it can see you. If you can see its eyes, it can see you. (The converse - if you can't see its eyes, it can't see you - does not hold unless you're a Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal.)

    Car Analogy: Same as if you're driving on the highway past an 18-wheeler. If I can see the trucker's eyes in the side mirrors, he can see me. (I'll assume he can't for the sake of prudence, but it's possible he can see me). If I can't see his eyes in the side mirrors, it's my responsibility to position me vehicle in such a way that he can see me, and/or somewhere he can't hit me whether he can see me or not.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      During motorbike training we were taught to position ourselves on the road where a driver would be, i.e. about 2/3 the way in, because (for one reason) other drivers look to that spot when looking for traffic -they instinctively look for another driver rather than another vehicle and further, they would look for their eyes. Worked for me so far.

    • I don't know why they need a study to do this. If anyone has a pet, and that pet wants something from you or wants you to do something, it's looking at your eyes. Even if I just walk into a room and my cat wants to see who it is she still looks at my eyes.

  • Neither (Score:5, Funny)

    by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Wednesday October 31, 2012 @12:12PM (#41831241) Journal

    Most D&D players look at their shoes. The extraverted D&D player looks at the GM's shoes.

  • I wonder (Score:4, Insightful)

    by IWantMoreSpamPlease ( 571972 ) on Wednesday October 31, 2012 @12:16PM (#41831287) Homepage Journal

    If this "research" will qualify for the Ig-Noble awards next year.

  • I knew it! (Score:4, Funny)

    by shaitand ( 626655 ) on Wednesday October 31, 2012 @12:16PM (#41831289) Journal

    This is proof that D&D contains all the secrets to life, the universe, and everything!

  • by HPHatecraft ( 2748003 ) on Wednesday October 31, 2012 @12:21PM (#41831327)

    For starters, did any of the participants in the experiments roll any savings throws? Lame.

    Experimenter: "OK, you encounter a beholder, and... it gets initiative. You: it fires... (dice roll) a beam from eye-stalk number 7."

    Participant: "Uh, OK."

    Experimenter: "Roll the dice. No. No, the other one. Yeah. OK. I see you failed your save vs paralysis".

    Participant: "Huh? (sees the taser in the experimenter's hand) No, wait!!"

    Experimenter: Zzzzzaaap!

    Experimenter: "Hm. He's not moving... oops. Hey. Did anyone roll a cleric? Anyone? What?!? Goddammit!

  • It should be obvious why another creature's - any creature's - gaze would be the focus of one's own: you need to see where the other creature is looking. If it's looking at you, then you might have a problem. This is completely unsurprising, as my cats always look directly at my eyes when they want to determine my focus and intent.

  • When I look people in the eye for too long, I begin to get uncomfortable and need to look away. Of course, talking with someone without looking them in the eye is awkward, so I've learned ways of fooling them into thinking I'm looking at their eyes when I'm not. I'll look behind their head, at their nose, etc. This way I don't get uncomfortable and they don't think I'm not focusing on them.

  • For the record, in DDO, I'm always in undead Lich (prestige) form so I'm immune to most beholder effects and then I dragon flyby in mid air up to the beholder and spray it with my ice dragon breath attack, which always 1-hits it regardless of the reflex save. It also casts through antimagic fields. So I'm mostly focusing on my quickbar actually, lol.
  • I've never felt comfortable looking into someone's eyes for more than a few moments at a time. I'm just overly conscious of "I'm looking at you, and you're looking at me, and you know I'm looking at you..." It's just weird to me. And once you've started looking into someone's eyes, it seems rude to then not look into them. Instead, I look at people's mouths while talking. Anyone else?

  • Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
  • According to QI, most women will go straight to the face, whereas men tend to sneak a look at the crotchal region - and it doesn't matter if they're looking at a woman, a man, or even a dog.
  • You're not looking at the center of the person, if you were doing that, the head wouldn't make sense. You'd stare at their chest. The point is not to look at a being's physical form necessarily, but rather to look them in the eyes, that is, to look at where they're looking from. You see them seeing you, they see you seeing them. Do you look a blind person in the eyes when you're talking to them? They won't look you in the eyes back, likely. Its about perspective, not about form.
  • have got no human grace.

  • ... a beholder's primary eye *IS* in the center of its head.
  • A basilisk or a Medusa would make the tests difficult to repeat.

  • We are all told while growing up to always look someone in the eye.

    Who exactly needed to study this?
    • by geekoid ( 135745 )

      Becasue common knowledge, tradition, and what we were taught as kids is always correct?
      How about to find you if it's correct? then to find out Why?

  • There were reports in the last year or so that Asperger's folks tended to fixate on the mouth, not the eyes, during conversation. This immediately made me self-conscious of doing the same thing.

    Not, of course, that all D&D players have Asperger's. Or that fixating on a monster's eyes vs. mouth correlates with fixating on a person's eyes vs. mouth. Or that, to those with Asperger's, it's unusually difficult to distinguish people from monsters.

    • by geekoid ( 135745 )

      "Not, of course, that all D&D players have Asperger's. "
      not even most. Statistically a "fee" have it. "FEW"

      Just...just stop talking about aspergers until you know something.

    • by Thuktun ( 221615 )

      There were reports in the last year or so that Asperger's folks tended to fixate on the mouth, not the eyes, during conversation.

      Not sure why you just noticed that in the last year. That's been part of the diagnostic criteria for Aspergers and Autism Spectrum Disorder [] for a while.

      This is the first thing I thought of when I read the summary, but then I and my kids all on the spectrum to varying degrees.

  • The one thing you never use against a Beholder is a Vorpal Sword. If you roll a natural 20, the sword cuts off the monster's head, but a Beholder is nothing but a disembodied head, so the sword goes swish as it goes under the monster.
    • by Thuktun ( 221615 )

      A 20 is a critical hit. I can't imagine the vorpal blade's effect to become a complete miss if it's not applicable. I'd expect just a solid hit, not a fatal blow.

      • You have considerably less imagination than my friends and I had over twenty years ago back when First Edition Rules were king. It's a perfectly logical extension of what a vorpal blade does on a natural 20: it tries to cut the head off. In the case of a Beholder, there's nothing to cut it off of, so it misses.
  • I'm sure this study is testing cultural bias, not human propensity. In Japan, for example, it's considered rude and direct to look into someone's eyes, and many people look at the mouth, or even slightly away.

Disks travel in packs.