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Why do people feel like they're being watched, even when no one is there?


Still Waters

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You're alone, and you suddenly have the sneaking suspicion that someone's there. Maybe you watched a scary movie or read the latest thriller novel and wonder if there's a killer lurking in your room. You look around and open the closet door, but no one's there. So why does your mind make you feel as if you were being watched?

https://www.livescience.com/human-behavior/why-do-people-feel-like-theyre-being-watched-even-when-no-one-is-there

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We watch ourselves. ?

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9 minutes ago, Still Waters said:

You're alone, and you suddenly have the sneaking suspicion that someone's there. Maybe you watched a scary movie or read the latest thriller novel and wonder if there's a killer lurking in your room. You look around and open the closet door, but no one's there. So why does your mind make you feel as if you were being watched?

https://www.livescience.com/human-behavior/why-do-people-feel-like-theyre-being-watched-even-when-no-one-is-there

Suggestion. It’s a powerful thing.

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Now I'm sure there are complicated psychological reasons for this sense, but I recall controlled scientific studies that seem to show people have an actual psychic ability to know they are being stared at. The gist of the experiments that show this is to ask people if they feel they are being watched and then to have and remove watchers. The experiment indicated people knew they were being watched more than chance would predict.

The Sense of Being Stared At

Excerpt:

The significant positive scores in my experiments confirm that the feeling is a real phenomenon that depends on factors as yet unknown to science. Non-human animals likely also share this kind of sensitivity, giving new significance to the evolution of predator/prey relations, mating, and social systems.

 

Now as an ability one can clearly see the selective evolutionary advantage of such psychic abilities.

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Posted (edited)
13 minutes ago, papageorge1 said:

 I recall controlled scientific studies that seem to show people have an actual psychic ability to know they are being stared at. The gist of the experiments that show this is to ask people if they feel they are being watched and then to have and remove watchers. The experiment indicated people knew they were being watched more than chance would predict.

 

Then they weren’t “controlled” to begin with because the suggestion of possibly being watched was put into their heads before this alleged experiment even began. What you’ve just provided (assuming your vague example even happened) perfectly illustrates a textbook example of the power of suggestion. 

Edited by Antigonos
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2 minutes ago, Antigonos said:

Then they weren’t “controlled” to begin with because the suggestion of possibly being watched was put into their heads before this alleged experiment even began. What you’ve just provided (assuming your vague example even happened) perfectly illustrates a textbook example of the power of suggestion. 

You don't understand the experiment he is talking about.

The feeling of being stared from behind is well known all over the world, and most people claim to have experienced it themselves. There have been surprisingly few empirical investigations of this phenomenon. I describe a simple experimental procedure with subjects and lookers working in pairs. In a random sequence of trials, the looker either looked at the back of the subject, or looked away and thought of something else. Such experiments showed a very significant excess of correct over incorrect guesses. When subjects were being looked at, they guessed correctly about 60% of the time, whereas in control trials, when they were not being looked at, their guesses were close to the chance level of 50%.

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Posted (edited)
9 minutes ago, papageorge1 said:

You don't understand the experiment he is talking about.

The feeling of being stared from behind is well known all over the world, and most people claim to have experienced it themselves. There have been surprisingly few empirical investigations of this phenomenon. I describe a simple experimental procedure with subjects and lookers working in pairs. In a random sequence of trials, the looker either looked at the back of the subject, or looked away and thought of something else. Such experiments showed a very significant excess of correct over incorrect guesses. When subjects were being looked at, they guessed correctly about 60% of the time, whereas in control trials, when they were not being looked at, their guesses were close to the chance level of 50%.

How did I not understand? You said the people were going to be asked whether or not they felt as if they were being watched, was that before or after the experiment started?

Honestly it doesn’t matter. The suggestion could also have been implanted after the test. The fact that they were told at all negates any possible scientific value.

Edited by Antigonos
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1 hour ago, papageorge1 said:

Now I'm sure there are complicated psychological reasons for this sense, but I recall controlled scientific studies that seem to show people have an actual psychic ability to know they are being stared at. The gist of the experiments that show this is to ask people if they feel they are being watched and then to have and remove watchers. The experiment indicated people knew they were being watched more than chance would predict.

Just because people can correctly sense they are being watched, does not mean they have psychic ability.

From the article posted by @Still Waters

Of course, sometimes we really are being watched. People likely evolved to be sensitive to another person's gaze, and it's been suggested the human brain has a neural network dedicated solely to processing gaze, according to an article written by Harriet Dempsey-Jones, a postdoctoral research fellow in cognitive neurosciences at The University of Queensland in Australia.

The article referred to above is this one: https://www.ndcn.ox.ac.uk/news/a-sixth-sense-how-we-can-tell-that-eyes-are-watching-us

It's an interesting and informative read, with one paragraph in particular that you should take note of:

Sadly for those who wish we were X-men, it appears much of the body of research supporting the “psychic staring effect” appears to be suffering from methodological issues, or unexplained experimenter effects. For example, when certain experimenters act as the watcher in these experiments, they seem to be more “successful” at getting people to detect their stares than other experimenters. It is almost certainly an unconscious bias, perhaps due to initial interactions with the experimenter.

It's what @Antigonos has been trying to tell you.

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19 minutes ago, Kittens Are Jerks said:

Just because people can correctly sense they are being watched, does not mean they have psychic ability.

From the article posted by @Still Waters

Of course, sometimes we really are being watched. People likely evolved to be sensitive to another person's gaze, and it's been suggested the human brain has a neural network dedicated solely to processing gaze, according to an article written by Harriet Dempsey-Jones, a postdoctoral research fellow in cognitive neurosciences at The University of Queensland in Australia.

The article referred to above is this one: https://www.ndcn.ox.ac.uk/news/a-sixth-sense-how-we-can-tell-that-eyes-are-watching-us

It's an interesting and informative read, with one paragraph in particular that you should take note of:

Sadly for those who wish we were X-men, it appears much of the body of research supporting the “psychic staring effect” appears to be suffering from methodological issues, or unexplained experimenter effects. For example, when certain experimenters act as the watcher in these experiments, they seem to be more “successful” at getting people to detect their stares than other experimenters. It is almost certainly an unconscious bias, perhaps due to initial interactions with the experimenter.

It's what @Antigonos has been trying to tell you.

First the brains neural system requires input to process. If not through the five senses then what input is being acted on?

Secondly, you are getting into the usual disagreement between parapsychologists and skeptics on the experimental data supporting psychic phenomena. That topic’s been done here a hundred times.

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1 hour ago, papageorge1 said:

First the brains neural system requires input to process. If not through the five senses then what input is being acted on?

What point are you trying to make exactly?

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You've just crossed over into the TWILIGHT ZONE.

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2 hours ago, Kittens Are Jerks said:

What point are you trying to make exactly?

It would be Extra Sensory Perception (ESP=paranormal).

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1 hour ago, papageorge1 said:

It would be Extra Sensory Perception (ESP=paranormal).

You've clearly not read any of the articles.

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You can't prove a negative claim...

How does one know for certain no one else is there?

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2 hours ago, Kittens Are Jerks said:

You've clearly not read any of the articles.

? How do people know they are being stared at without looking?? They must be either looking or using ESP. Unless you have an explanation no has thought of before.

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Quote

hypervigilance following a stressful or traumatic event; and serious mental health conditions

Cool, I learned a new word and I like it better than paranoia that I used but didn't think it fit well,

When stressful crap happens my OCD kicks in harder and I go into hypervigilance mode, and the reason is, sorry drop bear zero paranormal it is a knee jerk to keeping myself safe, just that simple.

Years back when humans were prey it was pretty darn important to surviving to know what creature is watching you considering would you make a good dinner.

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19 hours ago, papageorge1 said:

It would be Extra Sensory Perception (ESP=paranormal).

That’s not what ESP allegedly is. Have you ever read Rhine? I’m thinking no.

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5 minutes ago, Antigonos said:

That’s not what ESP allegedly is. Have you ever read Rhine? I’m thinking no.

ESP
ex·tra·sen·so·ry per·cep·tion
 
noun
  1. the faculty of perceiving things by means other than the known senses, e.g., by telepathy or clairvoyance.
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16 hours ago, papageorge1 said:

How do people know they are being stared at without looking??

How do you know they actually do?  (The answer is not, actually especially not, that Rupert Sheldrake of all people said so...)

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Posted (edited)
20 minutes ago, Liquid Gardens said:

How do you know they actually do?  (The answer is not, actually especially not, that Rupert Sheldrake of all people said so...)

For me, it's because of blinded controlled experiments suggesting such an ability as well as the anecdotal sense of being watched in paranormal cases followed up with unexplained phenomena. Also going into this side subject as a believer in ESP from other evidence, I can see why the ability to detect an unseen presence would be highly favored by evolution making this ability more likely.

From Sheldrake's Paper:

The first kind of experiment involves direct looking, using versions of the Coover procedure. People work in pairs, with a subject and a looker. In a ran domizedseries of trials the subjects sit with their backs to the lookers, who either stare at the back of thesubjects’ necks, or look away andthinkofsomethingelse. A mechanical signal marks the beginning of each trial. The subjects guess quickly, in less than 10 seconds, whether they are being looked at or not. Their guesses are either right or wrong, and are recorded immediately. A test session usually consists of 20 trials, and takes less than 10 minutes. In the second kind ofexperiment, thelooker and subject are in different rooms connected through closed circuit television (CCTV), as discussed in the follow ing section.

Direct-looking tests are far easier to perform than CCTV trials, and have now been carried out with many thousands of participants, both adults and children. Many tests have been conducted in schools. This research has been popularized through New Scientist magazine, BBC TV and Discovery Channel TV, and test procedures have been published on these organizations’ web sites, as well as on my own (www.sheldrake.org), enabling numerous people to participate in this research. At least 20 student projects in schools and universities have involved staring experiments; several have won prizes at science fairs. Altogether, there have been tens of thousands of trials (Sheldrake, 2003a). Theresults are remarkably consistent. Typically, about 55%oftheguessesare right, as opposed to 50%expectedbychance.Repeatedovertensofthousandsof trials this result becomes astronomically significant statistically (Table 1).

Edited by papageorge1
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I think some people get that feeling from unusually high EMF from faulty wiring in their basements. Basements can be creepy and that lends to it.

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8 hours ago, papageorge1 said:

From Sheldrake's Paper:

From wiki:

Sheldrake summarized his case in the Journal of Consciousness Studies, saying that he found a hit rate of 53.1%, with two subjects "nearly always right, scoring way above chance levels".[10] Sheldrake's experiments were criticised for using sequences with "relatively few long runs and many alternations" instead of truly randomised patterns, which would have mirrored the natural patterns that people who guess and gamble would tend to follow and may have allowed subjects to learn the patterns implicitly.[11][12] In 2005, Michael Shermer expressed concern over confirmation bias and experimenter bias in the tests, and concluded that Sheldrake's claim was unfalsifiable.[13]

Writing after another skin conductance test in 2004 showed a negative result, Lobach & Bierman concluded that "the staring paradigm is not the easily replicable paradigm that it is claimed to be".[4]

 

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I think we are all being watched constantly so it's a correct gut feeling.

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1 hour ago, openozy said:

I think we are all being watched constantly so it's a correct gut feeling.

Lol. Now everybody sleep tight. 

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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, Liquid Gardens said:

From wiki:

Sheldrake summarized his case in the Journal of Consciousness Studies, saying that he found a hit rate of 53.1%, with two subjects "nearly always right, scoring way above chance levels".[10] Sheldrake's experiments were criticised for using sequences with "relatively few long runs and many alternations" instead of truly randomised patterns, which would have mirrored the natural patterns that people who guess and gamble would tend to follow and may have allowed subjects to learn the patterns implicitly.[11][12] In 2005, Michael Shermer expressed concern over confirmation bias and experimenter bias in the tests, and concluded that Sheldrake's claim was unfalsifiable.[13]

Writing after another skin conductance test in 2004 showed a negative result, Lobach & Bierman concluded that "the staring paradigm is not the easily replicable paradigm that it is claimed to be".[4]

 

Well, we are at impasse once again as to what are the most honest and truth-seeking sources as opposed to agenda driven.

Mentioned these folks to you guys before: Guerilla Skepticism on Wikipedia

After decades of involvement I clearly believe people like Sheldrake, Radin, Utts and many others are the ones more interested in portraying a true understanding of the facts. Skeptics like the guerillas I don't hold to be true skeptics but no-hold-bars defender of a materialist-atheist worldview. The more I see the more I am convinced of my assessment. 

 

To give the other side of the argument, I'll quote Jessica Utts once again:

A professor of Applied Statistics has reviewed things more professionally than I can: Paper

Excerpt:

Using the standards applied to any other area of science, it is concluded that psychic functioning has been well established. The statistical results of the studies examined are far beyond what is expected by chance. Arguments that these results could be due to methodological flaws in the experiments are soundly refuted. Effects of similar magnitude to those found in government-sponsored research at SRI and SAIC have been replicated at a number of laboratories across the world. Such consistency cannot be readily explained by claims of flaws or fraud

 

I'll repeat: In the end it comes down to who you believe is competent and more interested in being objectively honest with the evidence.

Edited by papageorge1
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