While I'm whipping up a little something-something for this month's Blogs of the Round Table, check out this hidden gem I found in Corvus' bloglines.
Cognitive Daily: If you want to persuade a woman, look straight at her
Some very interesting research in computer augmented negotiation environments, suggesting that women are more likely than men to be persuaded to a point of view by the use of direct gaze, even when the "gaze behaviour was often socially inappropriate". There's some corrollary findings about gender bias in substantive argument assimilation too but I'm not sure that really proves anything and there's probably more focused studies on that elsewhere.
I am, of course, playing the Half-Life 2 milieu at the moment, and direct gaze is something that's used very effectively there to add life to the NPC characters. It's also something that could be particularly powerful as we move further into virtual worlds. Stuff like this and Nick Yee's findings about avatar interrelationships really fascinate me. Anyone who comes across more of it should throw linkage my way. I'm clearly going to have to delve through Cognitive Daily's back catalogue, too.