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Eye Color: A Key To Human And Animal Behavior

by Morgan Worthy

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Eleanor Clift, NEWSWEEK & PBS, Race Relations Reporter, June 3, 1974
"The Eyes Have It" ["Worthy] is careful to note that his conclusions apply to groups rather than to single individuals, and that between self-pacing and reactive skills, neither is more desirable than the other. 'Dark eyes are not superior to light eyes he cautions nor is the converse of that true.' Neither can reactivity or nonreactivity be considered as superior in any absolute sense. If we are to truly appreciate and respect talents different from our own, we must recognize the degree to which we are enriched by individual and group diversity." (NEWSWEEK, "Science", November 13, 1973)

"Refusing to do instant personality analyses, Worthy bristles at even the hint of such treatment of his work. "It's meaningless to judge an individual on the basis of eye color just as it is to judge on the basis of race," he argues, "but we can still talk about group averages." A low-key, deliberate person in conversation, Morgan Worthy is thorough and careful almost to a fault. He explains himself backwards and forwards in academic language that does not lend itself to snappy quotes. The blue-eyed Worthy is definitely self-paced. And he probably knows more about eye color than anybody else. Fearful that his work might 'undermine feelings of brotherhood and equal worth,' Worthy addresses its social implications in his book's introduction. While he dreams of America's pluralism being enlarged to accept and respect genetic differences in behavior, he half-jokingly suggests that the three graduate students who assisted him (one blue-eyed, one brown, one hazel) draft essays on 'the natural superiority of light eyes,' 'the natural superiority of dark eyes,' and 'in all things moderation or the best of both worlds.'"

Book Description

Morgan Worthy, a research psychologist, presents a comprehensive picture of how eye color is related to the behavior of humans and animals. In humans, he used archival records of athletic performance to show the theoretical pattern which has light-eyed athletes performing at their best on self-paced tasks and dark-eyed athletes, on average, performing at their best on reactive tasks.

This same general pattern is shown to hold true in animal behaviors such as hunting tactics of predators and escape tactics of prey. Whereas dark-eyed predators tend to rely on immediate, quick, reactions to catch prey, light-eyed predators tend to rely more on their ability to lie-in-wait or stalk prey.

Various other behaviors such as perception and social interaction are discussed in the same theoretical framework.

About the Author
Morgan Worthy is a psychologist and Professor Emeritus at Georgia State University. An article about his research appeared in the Science section of Newsweek and he was a featured guest on the television program "To Tell the Truth." One of his journal articles was chosen as a "Citation Classic" because it was one of the most cited in the field of social psychology.



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