A conventional explanation for the sense of being stared at? Or not.

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Rupert Sheldrake recently penned an article on the "sense of knowing when you are being looked at or stared at", which he has already done some work on. Apparently some materialist scientists are now claiming it is definitely not some sort of paranormal sensing, but is really some sort of neural physical sensing by you of minute electromagnetic fields occurring in the person whose visual attention is being directed at you.

He apparently is holding out hope that, despite his advocacy of paranormal sensing in some phenomena, a conventional explanation will be found in this case. I'm skeptical of this.

Sheldrake has some interesting and open-minded observations. He points out data that clearly contradicts this "explanation", and seems to implicate some sort of telepathic effect: 

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/...urned.html

Quote:"One fascinating question is whether the same effect occurs with CCTV. Can we sense when a camera is watching us — and does it make a difference if there's a human monitoring the image?

The security manager at one major London store told me how, more than once, he has watched shoplifters through CCTV taking shoes from a shelf and slipping them into a bag. He has called a colleague over, to point out the suspects, and at that moment, the thieves appeared to sense the watchers — glanced up, stared straight into the camera, then replaced the shoes on the shelf.

This has important implications. With so many CCTV cameras watching our every move, might this partly explain why so many people report increased anxiety today?

Until we have a better understanding of how people and animals know when they are being watched, the mystery will continue."

Sheldrake could also have pointed out that this phenomenon invoked using CCTV cameras with displays remotely located seems not to be requiring knowledge of the "starer" of the relative location of the subject, but also that the phenomenon is not responding to the inverse square law of EM propagation, which should cause the effect to taper off at any significant distance.
(This post was last modified: 2024-01-15, 04:44 PM by nbtruthman. Edited 2 times in total.)
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  • Raimo, Sciborg_S_Patel, Valmar, Larry, Typoz
Regarding CCTV installed in many places, a few years ago I had a sort of "beginners luck" where I repeatedly had unexpected interactions with passers-by in other countries while I was watching a live stream.

I wasn't really looking for any such effect, I was just exploring various street scenes, usually in low-profile or obscure locations. I was merely noticing that it was not easy to find live video streams from the UK (where I live) but I found a few in various European countries.

The first time I noticed it was really odd, I was watching a fairly quiet street with a few occasional pedestrians, on that occasion I was paying attention to one person (just a few pixels high on my screen) and I poked my finger onto the screen. I was amused when the person, stopped, turned around and looked vaguely in the direction of the camera, but not directly at it.

Now if you watch a street scene, people are often changing direction, sometimes because they suddenly remember something, or perhaps because someone calls out or there is some sound. So it is not particularly strange if someone one is observing pauses. But I started to try to deliberately cause people's movements to change. It did seem that when I spoke out loud, 'hey, turn around, look over here', the responses seemed quite unexpectedly frequent.

But I mentioned beginners luck. I've tried this several times over the last couple of years, on random occasions, with no effects at all.

So I'm left with a puzzling possibility, not a certainty but a thought-provoking idea that when I was more open to being surprised by the unexpected, I was able to produce some long-distance effects. But nowadays, when it won't surprise me much or at all, that ability seems to have been lost.
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(2024-01-15, 07:09 PM)Typoz Wrote: Regarding CCTV installed in many places, a few years ago I had a sort of "beginners luck" where I repeatedly had unexpected interactions with passers-by in other countries while I was watching a live stream.

I wasn't really looking for any such effect, I was just exploring various street scenes, usually in low-profile or obscure locations. I was merely noticing that it was not easy to find live video streams from the UK (where I live) but I found a few in various European countries.

The first time I noticed it was really odd, I was watching a fairly quiet street with a few occasional pedestrians, on that occasion I was paying attention to one person (just a few pixels high on my screen) and I poked my finger onto the screen. I was amused when the person, stopped, turned around and looked vaguely in the direction of the camera, but not directly at it.

Now if you watch a street scene, people are often changing direction, sometimes because they suddenly remember something, or perhaps because someone calls out or there is some sound. So it is not particularly strange if someone one is observing pauses. But I started to try to deliberately cause people's movements to change. It did seem that when I spoke out loud, 'hey, turn around, look over here', the responses seemed quite unexpectedly frequent.

But I mentioned beginners luck. I've tried this several times over the last couple of years, on random occasions, with no effects at all.

So I'm left with a puzzling possibility, not a certainty but a thought-provoking idea that when I was more open to being surprised by the unexpected, I was able to produce some long-distance effects. But nowadays, when it won't surprise me much or at all, that ability seems to have been lost.

To be honest, I was not aware that CCTV cameras could be accessed like that. Do you have a particular URL that you use for such experiments?

It would be interesting to see if more people could see this effect - I mean in principle it might be possible to devise a quite powerful psi demonstration. Beginners' luck should not work, I think, in random interactions of this sort. Roughly how long did your beginners' luck last? Also roughly what fraction of calls seemed to get a response at the time this was working well?

This effect was, of course, seen by Rupert Sheldrake in experiments devised for that purpose.

David
It's best to regard my previous post as anecdotal. There is nothing quantifiable about it, since it was something I chanced upon unintentionally. I remember talking to one of my friends about it in the pub but nothing was ever documented.

I'm not talking about CCTV as the term might be understood in say store security. Just ordinary public webcams. These things tend to come online for a while and then disappear again, the ones I viewed before I can no longer find.

You can find them via a search engine, such as
https://www.google.com/search?q=live+streaming+webcam
or try youtube, there are plenty of live streams there, some are from cameras mounted on buildings etc. as well as birds-nest cams and so on.

A street scene for example:
https://www.earthcam.com/usa/louisiana/n...rbonstreet 

https://www.aspects-holidays.co.uk/st-ives-webcam

Or an indoor cam:
https://www.earthcam.com/usa/louisiana/n...m=catsmeow
(This post was last modified: 2024-03-26, 04:18 PM by Typoz. Edited 1 time in total.)
experience is the result of a shared process.
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring 
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
This phenomenon I have always assumed I must have experienced but I cannot remember one example of it ever having happened.
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The so-called replication crisis in multiple science disciplines means we need to have a lot of verification studies using more modern designs to confirm results. One very important change to previous practice is the need to pre-register studies before they are even executed.

These modern-standard practices have been applied to the classic Darryl Bem precognition study in multiple independent verification studies across multiple countries. Darryl Bem helped with the study design in the replication studies. The results are as following

Quote:Data collection was carried out in 10 laboratories from nine different countries, involving 2115 participants. Bem's findings were not replicated, since it was obtained 49.89% successful guesses, while Bem reported 53.07% success rate, with the chance level being 50%.

https://bialfoundation.com/com/agregador...xperiment/

Note that this study was much bigger than Bem’s original study. I would not be surprised if modern redos of “the sense of being starred at” would yield the null hypothesis as well.

This a great story of science self-correcting and it should also be the default skeptical response to “the sense at being starred at”. Not speculations about electromagnectic fields that are untestable. 

Small effect sizes should in general be taken with a grain of salt until vast independent replication sets are available.
(This post was last modified: 2024-03-31, 07:10 AM by sbu. Edited 8 times in total.)
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(2024-03-31, 06:06 AM)sbu Wrote: The so-called replication crisis in multiple science disciplines means we need to have a lot of verification studies using more modern designs to confirm results. One very important change to previous practice is the need to pre-register studies before they are even executed.

These modern-standard practices have been applied to the classic Darryl Bem precognition study in multiple independent verification studies across multiple countries. Darryl Bem helped with the study design in the replication studies. The results are as following


https://bialfoundation.com/com/agregador...xperiment/

Note that this study was much bigger than Bem’s original study. I would not be surprised if modern redos of “the sense of being starred at” would yield the null hypothesis as well.

This a great story of science self-correcting and it should also be the default skeptical response to “the sense at being starred at”. Not speculations about electromagnectic fields that are untestable. 

Small effect sizes should in general be taken with a grain of salt until vast independent replication sets are available.

These seem to be very close odds. Did Bem concede he was wrong?

I think it's also unclear why we should be confident Sheldrake is simply wrong because Bem was supposedly wrong.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


(2024-05-14, 08:36 PM)Sciborg_S_Patel Wrote: These seem to be very close odds. Did Bem concede he was wrong?

I think it's also unclear why we should be confident Sheldrake is simply wrong because Bem was supposedly wrong.

No, the odds are not close at all. Achieving a 53% success rate under the null hypothesis, given such a large number of trials, is highly improbable.

I'm not sure if Bem has conceded entirely—probably not. A study's failure to replicate an effect does not definitively prove that the effect doesn't exist.

Given the replication crisis across various disciplines, I approach old studies demonstrating small effect sizes, such as those exemplified by the Bem study's reported 53%, with considerable skepticism, particularly if they didn't adhere to modern standards like preregistration. This skepticism extends to studies by researchers like Sheldrake; at the very least, it's time for a redo. My skepticism isn't specific to psi research; even fMRI studies, among others, face similar scrutiny. It appears that researchers in the fMRI field are also acknowledging these challenges.(https://news.stanford.edu/stories/2020/0...ity-crisis)
(This post was last modified: 2024-05-14, 09:56 PM by sbu. Edited 3 times in total.)
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(2024-05-14, 09:40 PM)sbu Wrote: No, the odds are not close at all. Achieving a 53% success rate under the null hypothesis, given such a large number of trials, is highly improbable.

I'm not sure if Bem has conceded entirely—probably not. A study's failure to replicate an effect does not definitively prove that the effect doesn't exist.

Given the replication crisis across various disciplines, I approach old studies demonstrating small effect sizes, such as those exemplified by the Bem study's reported 53%, with considerable skepticism, particularly if they didn't adhere to modern standards like preregistration. This skepticism extends to studies by researchers like Sheldrake; at the very least, it's time for a redo. My skepticism isn't specific to psi research; even fMRI studies, among others, face similar scrutiny. It appears that researchers in the fMRI field are also acknowledging these challenges.(https://news.stanford.edu/stories/2020/0...ity-crisis)

I still disagree about the odds, since I'd want to know if people running the trials were pseudoskeptics or genuinely looking the truth. Also very curious as to Bem's final word - did he feel that the replications were fair or a hit job done by those who'd prefer parapsychology to be completely discredited based on their materialist faith.

That said, if we're also including studies used by the materialist faith in the critique I would agree that Sheldrake should seek to properly replicate his results as a matter of fairness.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell



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