You Know You’re Being Watched When . . .

Stair Much

Stair Much

Have you ever seen Star Wars; The Empire Strikes Back? Do you remember the scene after Luke Skywalker crashed his X-Wing fighter on Dagobah and is sitting on the bank of a swamp talking to R2-D2? There’s a point when Skywalker says something to the effect of, “I’ve got that feeling like . . .” he quickly draws his laser pistol, brings it to bear on Yoda, who we all meet for the first time, and finishes saying, “. . . like we’re being watched!” That’s supposed to be an “ah-ha” moment. It’s when we say, he must have sensed Yoda’s presence with the force, just as I too use the force to anticipate when someone’s checking me out.

Yeah . . . right! Whatever!

Social psychologists say that it’s hardly psychic ability or telepathy when we accurately sense when someone is staring directly at us, and not at something or someone near or beyond us. They say that it’s a real perception that originates from the “gaze detection” system of our brains. It sounds like such a technical term doesn’t it? It’s right up there with the force.

Studies are said to show that certain brain cells exhibit activity when someone is staring right at us, but not when they’re looking just a few degrees to the left or right; different cells fire off in those other circumstances.

It seems like ESP or the force because we convince ourselves that we’re totally not looking at the person who is gawking at us but the experts say that we actually only receive cues by noticing the people staring at us through our peripheral vision.

I just thought that was interesting.

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3 thoughts on “You Know You’re Being Watched When . . .

  1. Interesting indeed. It happens to me sometimes when I’m taking candid shots of people (in “stealth” mode) that suddenly turn their heads to look at me for no apparent reason, as if they sense someone is looking at them. Usually it happens immediately after taking the shot. So, I just wonder…

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