PSYCHIC STARING EFFECT

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PSYCHICSTARINGEFFECT

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PsychicStaringEffect

Psychicstaringeffect(PSE), alsoscopaesthesia,is psychologicalpostulation thatargues that humanbeingscan detectbeingstared,through their innateextrasensory capabilities.Proponentsof PSE allegethatindividualscan detectlonggazes fromothers, evenwhenthe staring personsare hidden from their view. Ideasof extrasensory abilitiesto recognizewhen one is being stared at, devoidseeingthepersonstaringwereintroducedin thenineteenth centuryby Edward B. Titchener, among other parapsychologists1.Inrecentyears,parapsychologists, andmostnotablyRupert Sheldrake haveexploredthepossibilitiesof PSE, makinga boldassertionthatpeoplecan detectdirect gazes from others above levels of chances2.Thispapercritically analyzesSheldrake’s argumentsabout thepossibilitiesof PSE, consideringtheavailablecriticismof his theory.Thesewill helpin formingan opinionas to whetherhumanhas theallegedextrasensory capabilitiesto detectwhenbeingstared.

Tosupporthis case,Sheldrake criticizedthepremisesof contemporarystudies,proposingan openmindedapproachto investigateallscientificphenomena.Hearguedthatdelusionreducesscienceto seriesof dogmagroundedin philosophicalmaterialism hencetheneedforchange.Hehypothesized a newtheoryof perceptionarguingthatcontraryto scientificbeliefshumanbeingsdonot seeimagesof variousobjectsinside thebrains3.Accordingto Sheldrake, thevisionprocessinvolvesinwardmovementof lightandoutwardprojectionof mentalimageshencementalimagesare formedoutside thebrain.Hetheorizedthatseeinginvolvesthetravelingof theraysof lightfrom theobjectto visualprocessing centersof thebrain.At thesametime,imageperceptionsof thesightedobjectsare projectedoutwards through theeyesinto thephysicalworld.However,there is noconflictbetween therealimageandtheprojectedmentalimagesince thetwo coincidewith eachotherandoccupysamespaceandarea4.Accordingto Sheldrake, thehypotheticalprocessof formingmentalprojectionsoutside thebrainhas fascinatingimplications,allowinghuman to detect long gazes directed to them, even when not see thegazing individuals5.

Inhis theory,Sheldrake arguesthatmentalprojectionsof an objectreachesout and‘touches’therealobject.Usingthesearguments,Sheldrake explainedthatindividualsdetectthattheyare beingstaredat,especiallywhenstarredon thebackof their neck.Alongstare on individualsbackof theheadcreatesa strainandpressureon theskin,muscle,tendonandjoint,makingthe individualdetectthatare somebody is staring at them6.Throughexperiments,parapsychologists haveconductedexperimentswith startlingoutcomes.Theideathatunseenstaring is detectable hasbeensupportedby researchwith theincidencerateof as highas sixty-eight to eighty percent7.Sheldrake exploredtelepathyandtheabilityto detectwhenone is beingstaredat usingblindfolded subjects.Thesubjectswereto guesswhetherobserversinthelab werestaringat them orotherobjects.With thousands of experiments,Sheldrake concludedthan morethan sixty percent of the test subjects detectedwhenpeoplewerestaringat them. However,there wereevenchancessince fifty percent of testsubjectsreportedbeingstaredwhenin actualsense,observers were not staring at them. Sheldrakereportedthattwo of thetestssubjectswerealmostalwaysrightandconcludedindividualshaveinnateextrasensory capabilitiesthat enablethem detectwhenbeingstaredat8.Heattributedtheinabilityto duplicateresultsto morbidexperiencesand laboratory effects that made subjects guess their predicaments,rather than using their extrasensory capabilities.

Criticsof Sheldrake experimentsarguethatthedesignof theexperimentwarflawriddenanduseddifferentsequenceswith manyalterations. TheyarguethatSheldrake ought to haveusedrandomized patterns,which would be essentialin mirroringnaturalprocessof guessingandgambling.Additionally, theexperimentsare criticizedto be experimentalandconformational biased since thetestsubjectshadpriorknowledgeof thetestto beconducted9.Thepriorknowledgeof thetestledto confirmationbias,whereindividualsonlyguessedorgambled,ratherthan usingtheassumedextrasensory abilities.Argument against Sheldrake experiments arguing that the priorknowledge of the test led to erroneous results due to gabling cannotbe used to discredit the experiment. Despite criticismofexperimentalandconfirmationbiases,Sheldrake experimentshaveprovedvitalin supportingthePSE idea.Theblindfolded subjectsevidenced by a sixty percent accuracy,thatthere existinnateextrasensory abilitiesamong humans,which allowsthem detectwhentheyare beingstared10.

Additionally,opponentsarguethatthere werepossibilitiesof auditory andolfactory cluesin theexperimentthat would leadto erroneousresults11.Thesecriticsarediscreditedby thefactthatsubjectsrespondonlyto lookingtrialsbutnot to non-looking trials.Additionally, anyauditory cluesuchas whisperswould haveelevatedthescoresof theresults,which wasnot thecase.Additionally, earlierexperiments,suchas Colwelhadintroducedbarriersto auditory andolfactory effectsusingone-waymirror.Resultsof theexperimentwererelativelysimilarto Sheldrake’s The factthatexperimentswith controlled auditory effectsproducedsimilarresults,discreditstheargumentthat Sheldrake resultsgavesuchresultsowingto effectsof auditory andolfactory effects.Othercriticsarguethattheextrasensory abilitiesthat enableindividualsdetectwhenotherpeopleare staringat them resultsfrom individual`sparanoia.Theyarguethatthisabilityis morecommonamong womenandchildrenas a resultof fearorparanoia12.However,thiscriticismis baseless since Sheldrake experimentinvolvedallbothgendersandprovedwith sixty percent accuracythatthere indeedare peoplewhocan detectwhentheyare beingstaredat.Theargument,thattheabilityto detectwhenone is beingstaredat is a completecoincidence,is implausiblesince theoccurrenceis widespreadandtoomuchof a coincidence.

Iconcurwith Sheldrake thatas human,wehaveextrasensory capabilitiesthat helpus detectwhenotherpeopleare staringat us, evenwhenwecannot seethem.Humanbrainshaveaspecialsystemthat isdedicatedto sensing wherethepeoplein our vicinityare staringevenwithout lookingat them. Thesystem,pertinently referredto as thegaze detectionsystemactivatesspecificbraincellsespeciallylookedintentlyby otherindividuals13.Studiesattest thatthatthere are particularbraincellsthat are activatedduring longglances,especiallywhentheindividualis directstaring. Thesebraincellsareactivatedevenwhenthestaringpersonis hiddenfrom view.Thesystemdistinguishesbetween looksby peoplewhoare nearandthosewhoare farandactivatedifferentbraincells.Assuch,thedifferentbraincellsactivatedafter longgazes, allowsindividualsdetectthatotherpeopleare staringat them from behindorfar.Amazingly, thesebraincellsare not activatedwhentheobserver’sgaze isaverted,howevernear thegaze is to thesubject14.

Otherproponentsof theextrasensory capabilitiessuchas Tichenerattributeddetectionof gazesto tinglingeffectsthat ensueafter longstares15.His argumentsresonate with Sheldrake argumentsthatthere existsan extrasensory capabilityamong humanthat enablesthem to detectwhenothers stareat them. Someopponentsarguethatextrasensory capabilitiesdepictmoremagicthan science,butthefactthattheresultsaredrawnfrom experimentsmakesitscientific.Hence,moreresourcesshould be investedin thisfield,helpingindividualsexploretheimmensecapabilitiesof thebrain16.

Fromtheaforementioned,thehumanbrainhavespecializedvisualdetectionsystems,which givesthem extrasensory capabilities.Thesecapabilitiesallowhumanto detectlonggazes from otherindividuals,evenwhentheobserverisnot seen.Sheldric theorizesthatthevisionprocessinvolvesan outwardprojection mentalimage,which ‘touches’therealobject.Through researchwith blindfolded subjects,Sheldrake provedindividualsactuallydetectswhengazedevenwhenobserversare not in their vicinity.Thisabilityislinkedto particularbraincells,which are activatedduring longanddirectstares. Amazingly, thesespecializedbraincellsare not activatedwhenthegaze isaverted,evenwhenitis verynearto thesubject.Thoughtheargumenthas beenoverly criticized,experimentshaveprovedthathumanbeingscan detectwhentheyare stared,evenwhentheycannot seethestaringperson.As such, More resources should be invested in this upcoming field ofscience, to explore telepathy and others extrasensory capabilities.This will be apt in increase human understanding of the immensecapabilities of the brain.

Bibliography

DavidF. Marks and John Colwell. ‘ThePsychic Staring Effect: An Artifact of PseudoRandomization.’Available on-line: The Skeptical Inquirer Magazine:http://www.csicop.org/si/show/psychic_staring_effect_an_artifact_of_pseudo_randomization/

RobertA. Baker. ‘CanWe Tell When Someone Is Staring at Us?’ Available on-line:The Skeptical Inquirer Magazine:http://www.csicop.org/si/show/can_we_tell_when_someone_is_staring_at_us/

RupertSheldrake, ‘Experiments on the Sense of Being Stared At: theElimination of Possible Artefacts.’ Journalof the Society for Psychical ResearchVol. 65, pp.122-137 (2001). Available on-line: Rupert SheldrakeOnline:http://www.sheldrake.org/Articles&ampPapers/papers/staring/artefacts_abs.html

Sheldrake,Rupert. Thesense of being stared at: and other unexplained powers of humanminds,2013.

1 David F. Marks and John Colwell. ‘The Psychic Staring Effect: An Artifact of PseudoRandomization.’ Available on-line: The Skeptical Inquirer Magazine: http://www.csicop.org/si/show/psychic_staring_effect_an_artifact_of_pseudo_randomization/

2 Robert A. Baker. ‘Can We Tell When Someone Is Staring at Us?’ Available on-line: The Skeptical Inquirer Magazine: http://www.csicop.org/si/show/can_we_tell_when_someone_is_staring_at_us/

3 Marks &amp Colwell, p.1

4 Baker, p.1

5 Sheldrake, Rupert ‘Experiments on the Sense of Being Stared At: the Elimination of Possible Artefacts.’ Journal of the Society for Psychical Research Vol. 65, pp.122-137 (2001). Available on-line: Rupert Sheldrake Online: http://www.sheldrake.org/Articles&ampPapers/papers/staring/artefacts_abs.html

6 Marks &amp Colwell, p.1

7 Sheldrake, p. 123

8 Marks &amp Colwell, p.1

9 Sheldrake, p.130

10 Baker, p.1

11 Ibid

12 Marks &amp Colwell, p.1

13 Ibid

14 Baker, p.1

15 Sheldrake, Rupert. The sense of being stared at: and other unexplained powers of human minds, 2013.

16 Ibid

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