Scopaesthesia; does the mind have the ability to detect the direction of a stare?
Duffy, Kate Abigail
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Scopaesthesia, also known as the sense of being stared at, is a paranormal phenomenon that involves the detection of a stare within the mind that is not gained through the physical senses (Sheldrake, 2005). Experimental research provides evidence to support the existence of the sense, and indicates that it involves an unconscious bodily mechanisms (Radin, 2005). However, little is known about the direction sensitivity of scopaesthesia. Thus, the aim of this investigation was to address the gap in the literature, and provide evidence for the alleged psychic ability. The study sample consisted of forty five undergraduate students that were required to participate in both experiments, in pairs taking it in turns to act as the subject and looker. Both experiments used a closed-circuit television (CCTV) system set-up to control for sensory leakage. The first experiment used one CCTV camera, and the subject was required to make a response only if they thought they were being stared at. Whereas, in the second experiment two CCTV cameras were required, positioned facing the front and back of the subject to determine their ability to detect the direction. The subject was asked to make a response when they thought they were being looked at from the front. As expected, the analysis of the results from the combined trials in experiment one were found to signifantly deviate from chance, providing support for scopaesthesia. Additionally, the results from the trial analysis in experiment two revealed that for both, front and back trials, the success rate significantly deviated from chance level. Contrary to expectations, the findings revealed that participants were significantly more correct on the front stare trials as opposed to the back. It is proposed that this result provides evidence for the evolutionary theory of scopaesthesia, as it is suggest the sense has evolved to improve communication ability. Overall, the findings from this investigation provide evidence for the existence of scopaesthesia, and indicate an ability to detect the direction of a stare.
BSc (Hons) Psychology
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