|<<<Rupert Sheldrake page|
|Pets Who Sense When Their Caretakers are Returning||How do Pigeons Home?||The Organization of Termites||The Sense of Being Stared At||Phantom Touch||The Variability of the 'Fundamental Constants'||The Effects of Researchers' Expectations|
|Sheldrake, Rupert. Seven Experiments That Could Change the World. |
New York: Riverhead, 1995.
"Is there any evidence that people can tell when they are being looked at by someone, even when they cannot see the person looking at them? For example, can people tell when they are being stared at from behind? As soon as we ask this question, we realize that there is a great deal of anecdotal evidence suggesting that this is the case....|
Second, it enables people who are unusually talented to be identified, and thus opens the way to more detailed experiments.
Third, it enables people who do not do particularly well to practice and find out if they improve with experience. It may be possible to train oneself to perform well under these conditions. And this too would open the way for further research.
In these experiments people work in pairs, one sitting with his or her back to the other. In a series of trials, in a random sequence, the looker either looks at the back of the subject for 20 seconds, or looks away and thinks of something else for 20 seconds. The random sequence is determined by tossing a coin before each trial: heads means look; tails means don't look. The looker indicates when a trial is beginning by a tap, click, or beep, and the subject then guesses whether he or she is being looked at or not. Uniform mechanical clicks or electronic bleeps are better than taps because they rule out the possibility of subtle cues being transmitted through the strength of the taps. The looker records the result, and then tells the subject whether the answer was correct or not. The looker then tosses a coin to determine what to do in the next trial. And so on. The procedure is quite fast, and an average speed of two trials per minute is easy to achieve. The results are recorded on a simple score sheet....with two columns. Each trial is entered on a separate line, and correct answers are indicated by ticks, wrong answers by crosses....
...The results of these tests can be analysed statistically by means of the paired-sample t-test....
I have found it best to keep test periods fairly short, up to about 20 minutes, during which time forty or more trials can be done. For statistical analysis, at least ten separate test periods are desirable, either with the same pair of people or with different pairs of people....
For those who do not perform particularly well in initial tests, it is good to practice, doing 15- to 20-minute test sessions whenever convenient. This makes it possible for a learning process akin to biofeedback to occur, whereby various subtle sensations or methods of visualization are tried out in the attempt to find an effective way of telling when one is being looked at. If there is a tendency to improve with experience, it should be revealed by a rising proportion of correct guesses in successive sessions.
If and when sensitive subjects have been identified, many further questions can then be asked. Here are some straightforward examples:
Please let us know how we could better present this information.
|The Ultimate San Francisco Resource Directory ||
Zisk Tech Toons