Can you sense someones gaze?

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Offline Voxx

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Can you sense someones gaze?
« on: 25/10/2012 06:42:50 »
I've read a few interesting topics about this, but I would like to know Naked Science's opinion about the topic.

I've read a few topics elsewhere depicting the eye emitting some kind of energy that our senses can pick up.  From that we get the "feeling" of someone watching us.

Any thoughts?

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Offline CliffordK

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Re: Can you sense someones gaze?
« Reply #1 on: 25/10/2012 09:08:33 »
Yes, No, and Maybe.

I don't believe there is a 5th sense that tells one when someone else is looking at you.  However, people are constantly scanning their environment.  So, if a person is staring at you, you might pick it up as you casually are looking around yourself.

If you have your back to the door of an office, one might still notice someone come into the office by hearing their walking, breathing, and etc.

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Offline syhprum

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Re: Can you sense someones gaze?
« Reply #2 on: 25/10/2012 11:02:25 »
The eyes are receiving devices they do no transmitting.
syhprum

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Offline RD

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« Last Edit: 25/10/2012 12:00:07 by RD »

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Offline yor_on

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Re: Can you sense someones gaze?
« Reply #4 on: 26/10/2012 20:10:05 »
maybe? As a 'gestalt'. I've had this effect myself a few times and more often than not it have been correct. And sensing it, and acknowledging yourself reacting to it is also a very good way to break a pattern that otherwise might become troublesome. At least you can take yourself away from a environment that otherwise might prove detrimental to your, and others, wellbeing.

It exist.
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Offline JP

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Re: Can you sense someones gaze?
« Reply #5 on: 27/10/2012 00:04:32 »
Bovidaescopaesthesia: The sense a sheep is watching you.


But seriously, the (sadly boring) but true answer is that there's nothing special being emitted from our eyes.  In my opinion, the most likely answer is that we're social animals who evolved to communicate a lot of non-verbal information through our eyes, so we're very sensitive to the eyes of other people around us.

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Offline yor_on

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Re: Can you sense someones gaze?
« Reply #6 on: 27/10/2012 12:14:44 »
Heh ::))
I feel it looking at me :)

Gotta run . . .

sorry, didn't mean the eyes specifically. A 'gestalt' is a Jungian idea of a whole situation, what I like to call a pattern. And there I think it exists, You can find people with the same awareness on battlefields too, and some types of old time training is very much directed on lifting it up. I don't think it's more mysterious though than the way some animals can feel and run from a earthquake long before we humans notice. And I have both first hand and second hand evidence for that statement. It involves all senses I think.
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Offline evan_au

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Re: Can you sense someones gaze?
« Reply #7 on: 28/10/2012 10:17:13 »
I have heard suggestions that there are differences between the sexes in this area...

  • Men tend to focus on a target, and follow it with their gaze.
  • Women seem to be able to be more aware of what is around them "out of the corner of their eyes", and to be more aware if someone is following them with their gaze.

...but I can't confirm it with any experiments that I've done.

I am ignoring rumours that good schoolteachers can see out of the back of their heads...

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Offline imatfaal

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Re: Can you sense someones gaze?
« Reply #8 on: 29/10/2012 09:53:39 »
As JP said we are experts (if unconsciously) at spotting tiniest differences, noises, glances, stances and arrangements etc
Thereís no sense in being precise when you donít even know what youíre talking about.  John Von Neumann

At the surface, we may appear as intellects, helpful people, friendly staff or protectors of the interwebs. Deep down inside, we're all trolls. CaptainPanic @ sf.n

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Offline Ophiolite

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Re: Can you sense someones gaze?
« Reply #9 on: 29/10/2012 10:12:50 »
We also conveniently forget all the times we turn around and find no one is staring at us.
Observe; collate; conjecture; analyse; hypothesise; test; validate; theorise. Repeat until complete.

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Offline Airthumbs

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Re: Can you sense someones gaze?
« Reply #10 on: 30/10/2012 23:50:31 »
What about the person on the 5th floor of the office block you suddenly spin round and look directly at when you feel your being watched and you see them look away quickly as if caught?

Overpopulation?  One of many coincidences that occur each day?  Paranoia? 

Maybe the experiments won't work for the very reason the subject is being observed, although that almost sounds as ridiculous as saying, something does change when it is observed!?

If we can change the outcome of an experiment, just by whether we observe it or not, then what does that say about powers of observation?
Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex... It takes a touch of genius - and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction. (Einstein)

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Offline butchmurray

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Re: Can you sense someones gaze?
« Reply #11 on: 31/10/2012 11:13:22 »
Schrodingerís cat?
Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle?
I was not smart enough to know it was impossible to do what I did.

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Offline JP

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Re: Can you sense someones gaze?
« Reply #12 on: 31/10/2012 15:32:21 »
We also conveniently forget all the times we turn around and find no one is staring at us.

But aren't those just ghosts?  So clearly this isn't disproof of the idea that staring emits psychic energy, it's just proof that ghosts exist and emit psychic energy as well!  :)

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Offline Airthumbs

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Re: Can you sense someones gaze?
« Reply #13 on: 31/10/2012 17:47:11 »
Schrodingerís cat?
Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle?


Yes that is what I am getting at.  More specifically the Uncertainty Principle.
Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex... It takes a touch of genius - and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction. (Einstein)

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Offline Airthumbs

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Re: Can you sense someones gaze?
« Reply #14 on: 31/10/2012 18:25:13 »
JP, I am pretty sure that even after the many hundreds and hundreds of years of people seeing ghosts, that there has never been, even with modern technology, any evidence whatsoever to prove or at least provide a significant likelihood that they exist.

If however you can provide any scientific study that has concluded that my statement above is incorrect then I will receive it with an open mind.
Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex... It takes a touch of genius - and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction. (Einstein)

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Offline JP

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Re: Can you sense someones gaze?
« Reply #15 on: 31/10/2012 19:11:49 »
The ":)" in my post was meant to show I wasn't serious. 

There is no detectable effect of staring because there is no effect of staring at someone.  The effect of the uncertainty principle is completely washed out at macroscopic scales in the world around us, despite what a lot of new age mumbo jumbo about controlling the quantum world with your mind would have us believe.

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Offline Airthumbs

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Re: Can you sense someones gaze?
« Reply #16 on: 01/11/2012 05:10:10 »
You know there are two ways of looking at this, one is from the perspective of someone who basis an entire system on belief, imagination, and delusion and that of a system based on cold hard science.
The mumbo jumbo system gave us, other worlds, black holes, the placebo effect, hypnotism, brain washing and satellite communications to name but a few.

If it was not for mumbo jumbo some of these things would never have been discovered, so maybe we do need the nutters as much as the scientists.  It's just a shame there are so many and not enough scientists! 

ARE YOU LOOKING AT ME ;P



Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex... It takes a touch of genius - and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction. (Einstein)

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Offline Ophiolite

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Re: Can you sense someones gaze?
« Reply #17 on: 01/11/2012 12:56:33 »
The mumbo jumbo system gave us, other worlds, black holes, the placebo effect, hypnotism, brain washing and satellite communications to name but a few.
Satellite communications were proposed by Arthur C. Clarke in a serious journal.
Black holes were predicted by basic physics.

even if your other examples are valid, these two are not.
Observe; collate; conjecture; analyse; hypothesise; test; validate; theorise. Repeat until complete.

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Offline JP

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Re: Can you sense someones gaze?
« Reply #18 on: 01/11/2012 14:17:10 »
If it was not for mumbo jumbo some of these things would never have been discovered, so maybe we do need the nutters as much as the scientists.  It's just a shame there are so many and not enough scientists! 

Before the scientific method, nearly everything was mumbo jumbo.  You can certainly make discoveries by trying everything you "feel is right" and something's bound to work eventually.  You'll also end up with a lot of nonsense: human sacrifice to appease harvest gods, homeopathy, astrology, etc.

However, just compare the scientific advances of the past 300 years to those made in the 3000 years before that to see why the scientific method has benefits over the mumbo jumbo method.  We certainly do need creative thinkers in science, but there's a world of difference between "mumbo jumbo" and creative science.

On the OP's topic: experiments showed you can't sense someone watching you.  Proper science would be to refine this experiment to account for plausible flaws in the methodology.  However, the uncertainty principle is not a plausible flaw--it's been looked at for objects of similar sizes and there's no reason to believe it could have this effect in humans.  It's an interesting idea, but it just doesn't stand up to scrutiny.

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Offline Airthumbs

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Re: Can you sense someones gaze?
« Reply #19 on: 01/11/2012 18:11:14 »
Thanks JP I think you just about hit the nail on the head. 

I thought Arthur C Clarke, R.I.P, came up with the idea of communications satellites though one of his fiction novels.   However I stand corrected as with the origins of Blackholes.  :)

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex... It takes a touch of genius - and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction. (Einstein)

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Offline JP

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Re: Can you sense someones gaze?
« Reply #20 on: 01/11/2012 18:39:02 »
Sorry if I come off as a bit aggressive on the uncertainty principle.  It's just that I've heard lots of new-agey folks describe how quantum mechanics lets them influence the world through their mind, and seen lots of books/DVDs/other products along these lines being sold.  At the best, it's complete pseudoscience that's misappropriated real physics terminology.  At the worst, these people are taking advantage of desperate people by selling them nonsense which may even prevent them from getting help they actually need. 

Anyway, the thought of quantum effects here is a good one, but it doesn't stand up to scientific scrutiny.  :)

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Offline demografx

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Re: Can you sense someones gaze?
« Reply #21 on: 12/11/2012 16:48:04 »
Bovidaescopaesthesia: The sense a sheep is watching you.


But seriously, the (sadly boring) but true answer is that there's nothing special being emitted from our eyes.  In my opinion, the most likely answer is that we're social animals who evolved to communicate a lot of non-verbal information through our eyes, so we're very sensitive to the eyes of other people around us.

Then why is this sheep looking directly at ME???? [:)]

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Offline RD

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Re: Can you sense someones gaze?
« Reply #22 on: 12/11/2012 20:46:15 »
Then why is this sheep looking directly at ME???? [:)]

Next you'll be telling us you can see it moving [:)] ...

 [attachment=17244]
« Last Edit: 12/11/2012 20:48:32 by RD »

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Offline Ophiolite

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Re: Can you sense someones gaze?
« Reply #23 on: 13/11/2012 00:56:18 »
I thought Arthur C Clarke, R.I.P, came up with the idea of communications satellites though one of his fiction novels.
No, not fiction. Wireless World, October 1945, pages 305-308: http://web.archive.org/web/20071225093216/http://www.lsi.usp.br/~rbianchi/clarke/ACC.ETRelaysFull.html


Observe; collate; conjecture; analyse; hypothesise; test; validate; theorise. Repeat until complete.

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Offline demografx

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Re: Can you sense someones gaze?
« Reply #24 on: 13/11/2012 02:32:58 »
Then why is this sheep looking directly at ME???? [:)]

Next you'll be telling us you can see it moving [:)] ...

 [attachment=17244]

I can see the eye winking!! Really!!

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Offline Voxx

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Re: Can you sense someones gaze?
« Reply #25 on: 24/04/2013 22:44:15 »
A new thought just occurred to me.

Our eyes perceive images through the electromagnetic spectrum.  By our eyes interacting with the electrons we see.  However, isn't observing particles change the very nature of their function?  Disturb their initial course of action.

If and IF!!  We have this (6th) sense that we can subliminally detect these changes, couldn't we have that feeling we're being watched?

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Offline JP

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Re: Can you sense someones gaze?
« Reply #26 on: 24/04/2013 23:19:00 »
Since this is a science forum, I'll assume you're asking if this is scientifically possible, Voxx.

No, it isn't.  The process of our eyes interacting with electrons in other people is: 1) an electron emits a photon, 2)  our eye absorbs that photon.  The "disturbance" is that our eye absorbs the photon. 

There is a common and fallacious argument made by proponents of "quantum mysticism" that the electron actually emits many possible photons and observation forces it to "choose" one particular emission.  Strictly speaking, this is true.  However, in practice observation doesn't only mean observation by another human, but interaction between the photon and anything else, including the air through which it passes, and any other surface in the area that might absorb or reflect it.  In practice, by the time the photon reaches your eye, it's already been influenced significantly by the air and has already been "observed" many times, a phenomenon called quantum decoherence.  We'd be constantly aware of the air watching us if this argument were true.  Plus, only a tiny fraction of photons emitted by someone else's body reach human eyes.  Many will be absorbed by the air, ground, walls, trees, the eyes of non-human animals, etc.  If quantum mystics were right, we'd all be schitzophrenics.

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Offline yor_on

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Re: Can you sense someones gaze?
« Reply #27 on: 26/04/2013 13:29:33 »
I think Jung was right in discussing 'gestalts'. If you define a gestalt as you relative what surrounds you, you taking it in consciously as well as subliminally and unconsciously. What you perceive consciously will be a result of you lifting some points up for treatment, with the rest of it being the larger bulk of information, also treated but instead becoming like feelings. It's about patterns to me, we cherry pick things from them, but the pattern exist and will have a effect unconsciously.
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