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Eyes On The Back Of Your Head

  1. Oct 23, 2003 #1
    I saw a program about two serious studies done to test the notion that people can tell when someone is behind them looking at them.
    One study was conducted by a woman who explained to the volunteers that the point of the study was to show there was something to it.

    The other study was conducted by a man who explained to volunteers the point was to prove it was nonsence.

    The set ups were remarkable similar. People sat with their back to a two-way mirror watching TV. They were to click a button when they senced someone was behind the mirror looking at them.

    The people in the woman's study had an amazingly high success rate. Those in the men's never got it right. The people who made the program felt this showed some such sence must exist, but that people are unconsciously willing to suppress it for an authority figure who doesn't want it to be so.

    I have turned around to find people staring at me, but it seems, in retrospect, I had always turned to look for perfectly explainable reasons. Specifically, that they had been absent from their normal location in the room for a long time.

    In what are reported to be authentic cases of this, people say they feel the hair on the back of their neck stand up, which is what alerts them to the fact they're being watched.

    I'm wondering if anyone has stories to report, and ideas about why the woman's study could have produced the results it did?
     
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  3. Oct 23, 2003 #2

    Ivan Seeking

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    Do you have any idea who did these studies? I have heard this claimed but I have never seen the credible evidence.
     
  4. Oct 23, 2003 #3
    Unfortunately, no. The man was British, the woman American. I saw this program about a year ago. I believe they had communicated with each other casually about the subject, but had each decided to test it on their own. It was a third party who later investigated and uncovered the differences in how they psychologically prepared the test subjects. They had independently of each other arrived at pretty much the same setup for preventing the subject from directly sencing anyone behind them. There was a time limit but they were instructed to press the button anytime they thought someone was looking at them, be it twenty times or none.
     
  5. Oct 24, 2003 #4
    Yes, I believe I saw that on TV too. I don't remember the names though.
     
  6. Oct 24, 2003 #5

    Ivan Seeking

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    Well Zooby, I have heard the explanation for this but one dare not mention this at logic parties: It requires belief in order to work. [The bible makes the same claim]. Of course, if true, this alone would not kill all laboratory results. The problem is this whole notion that analytical testing could destroy the mechanism for ESP. On one hand, with concepts like the uncertainty principle in mind this almost sounds plausible. On the other hand, the claim works painfully well as a cheap dodge. It is hard to see it otherwise.
     
  7. Oct 24, 2003 #6
    I want to hear the explaination!
     
  8. Oct 24, 2003 #7
    I found all that confusing because I'm not sure at any given point if you are refering to the ability to tell when someone is looking at you, or the notion that trying to test it kills it.

    The sugestion for why the results were so bad in the man's case was that he had effectively enlisted their cooperation in his goal of disproving the phenomenon. This did not make any ability go away. It might, in fact, imply they used the ability to unconsciously neglect to press the button when they felt they were being watched and to press it when they felt they weren't.
     
  9. Oct 24, 2003 #8

    Ivan Seeking

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    If this claim is true, then why can't it be reproduced?
     
  10. Oct 24, 2003 #9
    If it's true, it can be reproduced. I'm not aware of anyone saying it can't be.
     
  11. Oct 24, 2003 #10

    Ivan Seeking

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    It sounds like you are claiming proof of ESP.
     
  12. Oct 24, 2003 #11
    Nay, I am trying to find some satisfying explanation for why the woman's study had the results it did. I am not suspecting esp.

    I am wondering more on the lines of being able to detect EM fields as subtle as those given off by a human body. The precident for this being the animals who become agitated before a quake presumably due to EM disturbances. This, at any rate, is as whacky as I'm willing to go, if nothing better shows up.

    I was actually hoping to attract more reports of people who felt this had happened to them. I really only know of one person
    who seemed reliable who told me about this having happened to him. He was out in the woods, felt the hair stand up on the back of his neck, and turned around to see one of the local Indians staring at him. He may have heard an unusual russle of leaves, or noticed a squirrel chattering defensively behind him or whatever, so it is not inexplicable. The experimental set up is harder to explain.
     
  13. Oct 25, 2003 #12

    Ivan Seeking

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    Hehe. If true, this is called ESP. What's in a name?

    ESP is also known as pheromones.
     
  14. Oct 25, 2003 #13

    Ivan Seeking

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    Well, this would effectively prove that ESP exists. For this reason, since I don't recall any earthshaking papers about this, I have serious doubts about the claims. I have heard of such claims, but I have never seen a definitive case that locks it down.

    I will spend some time looking for this in a few days. Those nasty work deadlines are beckoning right now.
     
  15. Oct 25, 2003 #14
    This is interesting. I'll see if I can find anything on this
     
  16. Oct 25, 2003 #15
    Denotation and connotation. Vain Seeking has all the same letters as Ivan Seeking, but I suspect you'd object to the distorted arrangement even if I asked:"What's in a name?"

    Persinger has proven that EM fields right up against a person's head can greatly alter their state of mind. From this, the question arises: how subtle does the field have to be before it has no effect anymore?
    Is this extra-sensory? By definition, if you are sencing something it is not extra-sensory.

    Why are you calling the sencing of pheromones extra-sensory? There is debate, I understand as to whether people sence pheromones, but I'm pretty certain the matter is settled in the case of insects.
     
  17. Oct 25, 2003 #16

    Ivan Seeking

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    Yes it is funny how connotation gets in the way.


    First, I'm sure you know that I am not trying to detract from this subject. I just felt compelled by the gods of objectivity to point out that ANY SIXTH SENSE really settles the issue. ESP does exist...at least in insects. The term ESP means any sense beyond the basic five.

    Next, if true, a sense of someone watching would pass the mustard for an ESP phenomenon. This does not imply anything about mind reading or fortune telling. Still, so as not to unfairly discredit your discussion, I will refrain for using the expression ESP.
     
  18. Oct 25, 2003 #17
    I said "denotation and connotation." The denotation of "Vain Seeking" is quite different than the denotation of "Ivan Seeking"
    The authentic "sixth" sence has been well know to mankind since time immemorial. It our sence of balance. We use it all the time every day. The physical organs responsible for our sence of balance are located in the structures of the inner ear. It is an authentic, physical sence. It is not ESP. I suspect it was left out of the list because it lacks the on-off quality that help us recognize the other sences. If we put our hands over our ears sound is deadened, if we lift our hand from the table we can no longer touch it. If we leave the rose bed, it's smell stays behind, after we're done eating, the taste of the food goes away eventually, shut your eyes and you can't see. Balance can't be turned off like this. This makes it somewhat harder to recognise.

    The prefix "extra-" means "outside" or "beyond" . It is not synonymous with the adjective "extra" which means "more than is due, usual, or necessary". Important distinction.
    I hope I have just shown why the latter assertion is not true and why pheromones cannot be considered ESP.
    ESP, in fact, denotes perception by means beyond or outside the sences; the connotation being: "inexplicable in any conventional terms - resulting from forces and energies outside those known to physics."
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2003
  19. Oct 25, 2003 #18
    I think the methodology in both cases is flawed by interference from teh testers. It was just as bad for the woman to tell the subjects that she was supporting the idea, as it was for the man to say he was trying to disprove it. Beyond that, I would have to see the full evidence, including hopefully videotape evidence. There are all sorts of ways people could know they were being watched...were they accounted for?
     
  20. Oct 25, 2003 #19
    Absolutely true. It was completely unprofessional of both of them to express any desire for a specific outcome to the test subjects. Anyone trying this again has to arrive at a way to maintain neutrality. The point of the show, was in fact, to reveal how it is possible to skew study results with this sort of "preparation" of the test subjects.
    Exactly: full evidence is needed in a case like this. In fact they did have tapes of a couple people being tested, just to give the general layout of the set up, but these went by too fast in the one viewing I had to be able to examine where the holes might be.
     
  21. Oct 28, 2003 #20

    hypnagogue

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    Ever hear of the sheep-goat effect? Here's a definition from http://www.mdani.demon.co.uk/para/paraglos.htm#S :

    Here's a link arguing for the salience of the sheep-goat effect in psi experiments: http://www.tcm.phy.cam.ac.uk/~bdj10/psi/delanoy/node6.html

    As applied to the staring experiments in question, from http://www.skepticalinvestigations.org/observer/observer3.htm :

    So we have the names of our experimenters! Marilyn Schlitz and Richard Wiseman. There is actually some more excellent information to get to the bottom of all this.

    An article at http://www.hf.caltech.edu/ctt/show212/essay212.shtml discusses scientific experimentation of psi through the prism of the Wiseman/Schlitz experiments, and includes links to Schiltz's original papers and the subsequent Wiseman/Schlitz joint paper. On the basis of this topic, a forum (now closed) was set up to discuss relevant questions, located at http://www.hf.caltech.edu/cgi-bin/hnctt/get/show212.html. The forum discussion is of the highest quality and actually includes commentary from both Schlitz and Wiseman. Schlitz has an especially nice post about psi's place in scientific inquiry at http://www.hf.caltech.edu/cgi-bin/hnctt/get/show212/6/1.html.
     
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