Does trait mindfulness correlate to one’s ability to detect a stare?
Allum, Thomas James
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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The sense of being stared at (Scopaesthesia) is a common paranormal phenomenon (Braud et al., 1990; Cottrell et al., 1996) that cannot be explained by convention knowledge of human sensory systems. This research addresses a gap in the literature, that being that there is very little process oriented research. Thus, an effective measure of psychological correlates of scopaesthesia has not yet been employed. Literature has suggested that ‘self-consciousness’ may be an effective measure (Baker, 2007). Evidence from ESP studies has suggested that those who are involved in meditative practice perform better in ESP tasks (Honorton, 1977). In this research the meditative practice of mindfulness has been targeted. Mindfulness is conceptually similar to that of self-consciousness and thus may be a possible correlate. 45 undergraduate students were used in the study. They were required to participate in pairs, taking in turns to act as a starer and the starees. Participants were separated and staring occurred via a CCTV system. The trails were randomised and the staree had to determine whether they were being stared at. Mindfulness was measured using the five-facet mindfulness questionnaire (Baer et al, 2006). The combined hit rate was 59.44% which differed significantly from chance (p < .001). As hypothesised the observe facet demonstrated a small positive effect size, the act with awareness facet demonstrated a small negative effect size and the non-reactivity facet demonstrated a medium negative effect size. The only facet that did not fit the hypothesis was the non-judging facet which was insignificant. These findings suggest that scopaesthesia is a genuine phenomenon. Results also suggest that mindfulness is a psychological correlate of stare detection ability. Further the model of how mindfulness correlates to scopaesthesia was predicted using already accepted concepts from mainstream psychology, increasing the credibility of the phenomena. Further research should be conducted to elaborate on the findings and replication is encouraged develop the validity and reliability of the current findings.
BSc (Hons) Psychology
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