Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

The Quantum Phenomenon and the Staring Phenomenon

  1. Nov 12, 2009 #1
    Hi, I'd like to know your thoughts on this topic from the Physics point of view:

    Sheldrake, R. (2005). The Sense of Being Stared At Part 2: Its Implications for Theories of Vision Journal of Consciousness Studies, 12, No. 6, 2005, pp. 32–49
    http://www.sheldrake.org/papers/Staring/JCSpaper2.pdf [Broken]

    Here is a summary of this article (49p):
    Other documents related to this phenomenon:

    Coover, J.E. (1913), ‘“The feeling of being stared at”—experimental’, American Journal of Psychology, 24, pp. 570–5.

    Does anything leave the eye when we see? Extramission beliefs of children and adults, GA Winer, JE Cottrell – Current Directions in Psychological Science, 1996.

    Beliefs of children and adults about feeling stares of unseen others - ,JE Cottrell, GA Winer, MC Smith – Developmental Psychology, 1996.
    http://psycnet.apa.org/index.cfm?fa=fulltext.journal&jcode=dev&vol=32&issue=1&format=html&page=50&expand=1 [Broken]

    The ability to detect unseen staring: A literature review and empirical tests, J Colwell, S Schroder, D Sladen – British Journal of Psychology, 2000
    http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/bpsoc/bjp/2000/00000091/00000001/art00005 [Broken]

    Sheldrake, R. (2005). The Sense of Being Stared At Part 1: Is it Real or Illusory? Journal of Consciousness Studies, 12, 10-31.
    http://www.sheldrake.org/papers/Staring/JCSpaper1.pdf [Broken]

    Schmidt, S. (2005). Comments on Sheldrake's 'The Sense of Being Stared At'. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 12,105-108.
    http://www.uniklinik-freiburg.de/iuk/live/forschung/publikationen/Comment_Shreldrake_staring_JCS_2005.pdf [Broken]

    The Non-Visual Detection of Staring - Response to Commentators Journal of Consciousness Studies, 12, No. 6, 2005, pp. 117–26
    http://www.sheldrake.org/papers/Staring/JCSpaper3.pdf [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 13, 2009 #2


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    The Wiseman/Schlitz series of studies would have a lot more credibility in psi research circles than anything Sheldrake might publish.

    But this isn't philosophy anyway and ought to be shifted to

    However, check.....

    The remote detection of staring

    Some parapsychologists have conducted psychophysiological studies in which participants seem able to psychically detect an unseen gaze. In 1995 and 1998 Prof Wiseman carried out joint studies in collaboration with Dr Marilyn Schlitz (Institute of Noetic Sciences), a parapsychologist who had carried out many of the most successful staring studies. The studies revealed evidence of an ‘experimenter effect’, with the sessions carried out by Prof Wiseman obtaining quite different results from those conducted by Dr Schlitz.

    A third joint study, reported in 2005, has failed to replicate this experimenter effect.
  4. Nov 13, 2009 #3
    It seems that you haven't read the quoted article:
    This thread is for discussing this phenomenon from the current science point of view, especially the Quantum Physics, as it's the closest thing. I mean does the Physics allow something like that to happen?, and if we assume that it's absolutely true what would be the scientific explanation?. A little philosophical don't you think?.
    I've already discussed it from the scientific method point of view in the S&D forum, but it deserves a thread of its own which I'll start there later to discuss how it can be tested.

    There is a strong logical evidence that this experimenter effect is the real phenomenon showing as a side effect. These experiments were conducted to test something that, according to the logic, can never be true, and which was actually mistaken for the real phenomenon because of a misunderstanding of the scientific method.
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2009
  5. Nov 13, 2009 #4


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    There is neither convincing evidence that there is an effect, nor is there anything in QM and neuroscience that would suggest there should be. So really no story.
  6. Nov 13, 2009 #5
    Are you sure?. I mean, for example:

    • A person (receiver) is standing somewhere talking to his/her friends.
    • Another person (sender) is coming from a long distant behind the receiver.
    • There are other people that are scattered in between and around the sender and the receiver.
    • The sender notices the receiver and begins to stare at him/her.
    • After a while the receiver finds himself/herself suddenly gazing back in the direction of the sender as if he's/she's just sensed something.
    • The receiver can't remember sensing any auditory or visual stimulus that would make him/her behave this way.
    • At the moment of detection the sender suddenly looks away in an attempt to hide the staring intention.
    • The receiver is absolutely sure the sender was staring at him/her from behind at that exact moment.
    • Nor the friends of the receiver nor the people who were scattered in between and around the sender and the receiver reacted in any way to the sender.
    • The reason for the sender's staring, whether it's positive or negative, is irrelevant.
    • There is inexplicable correlation between the receiver's directional behavior and the staring intention of the sender.
    Are you saying that, regardless of the interpretation of the Quantum Theory, there is absolute certainty that it would never allow something like that to happen?.
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2009
  7. Nov 13, 2009 #6


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    OK, forget the fact that the claimed effect has not been demonstrated reliably under controlled laboratory conditions, surely you see the conflict with physics?

    What is the nature of the supposed entanglement between observer and observed? At best, it would be between the starer's eyeball and light reflecting off atoms on the back of the staree's head. There is no basis for a material "perceptual field", some entanglement of minds.
  8. Nov 13, 2009 #7

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Speculation regarding a mechanism of action is not appropriate. The only qualified discussion is that of evidence.

    Note also that almost by definition, if any ESP phenomena do exist, we have no accepted model to account for it. The only motivation for such a model would be evidence, so a discussion of any potential evidence is the only worthy discussion.

    Note again that any data must come from papers published in applicable academic journals listed in the forum guidelines. Sources such as the Journal of Parapsychology, or the JSE, do not qualify.
  9. Nov 13, 2009 #8

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Were these studies published, and if so, where?

    Credibility is based on published papers, not opinions.
  10. Nov 13, 2009 #9


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    As I say (and parapsychology is a field I know well) the state of the art on the detection of remote staring studies was published in the British Journal of Psychology (2006), 97, 313–322

    http://penumbrae.info/documents/muse/skeptic.pdf [Broken]

    Long story short, as experimental design was tightened up, the claimed effect disappeared. So there is no evidence in demand of explaining.

    Sheldrake does his "research" under very loosely controlled conditions and so people quite rightly don't begin to take it seriously.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  11. Nov 13, 2009 #10
    I agree, maybe we should concentrate now on how to prove it beyond any doubt before trying to explain it. But one can't stop thinking how could this ever happen!.
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2009
  12. Nov 14, 2009 #11
    Be aware that our perception doesn't necessarily represent reality, our knowledge can mislead us. A claim that clearly violates the logic can never be true, but there is a logical possibilty that that claim is hiding a real mysterious phenomenon that fully complies with the logic.
    This staring phenomenon has nothing to do directly with the eyes, vision, light or the back of our heads. The visual knowledge of the receiver is just the stimulus, it has no direct role. Any other stimulus that can put the sender in the same state would cause the same effect on the receiver. Even if there is a concrete wall between the sender and the receiver the effect can still happen, and that must be taken into consideration when testing this phenomenon.
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2009
  13. Nov 14, 2009 #12
    Thank you.
  14. Nov 14, 2009 #13
    A logical question arises, how can the sender affect the intended receiver without affecting anything else?. A logical explanation would be:
    As no more than one receiver can occupy the same space at the same time, the directional knowledge obtained from the visual knowledge of the receiver must have a role in selecting which receiver the effect is destined for.

    Another logical question arises, if the sender has no direct visual knowledge of the receiver (the receiver is hidden in a box), how can the sender still affect the receiver?. A logical explanation would be:
    The directional knowledge obtained from the visual knowledge of the confined space (the box) in which the receiver might be hidden can still tell the probabilities of where the receiver might be, and the effect would hit every point of that confined space. After all our brains are confined in a skull.

    Any sender who has directional knowledge of where the receiver might be can affect the results of the experiment, even without/before looking at the receiver at all!!.
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2009
  15. Nov 14, 2009 #14

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    This is now too speculative to be allowed to continue.

    No other threads on this subject will be tolerated. If a new paper is found or published, send me a pm with a link. Until then, since you are unwilling to abide by the guidelines, this subject is closed.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook