Why do we feel someone else’s gaze on ourselves, even if we do not see a person

Perhaps you have ever felt that someone was looking at you. This feeling could be accompanied by restlessness and a slight tingling sensation in the back of the head. Often these sensations are attributed to a psychic nature, but this is not the case.

You are sitting in the subway, flipping through the news feed on your smartphone and you feel a tingling sensation and an eerie chill. Someone is looking at you now. How did you know about this? Do you have a sixth sense or psychic ability? We will tell everything

This biological phenomenon is called the gaze detection system. According to Psychology Today, the human brain contains a complex neural network responsible for detecting other people’s gaze.

Many mammals can also tell when other animals are looking at them, but the human system is much more accurate. Neurological studies have shown that if the beholder looks away just a few degrees, this eerie feeling disappears.

Compared to other animals, humans have a much more open sclera (the white part of the eye that surrounds the pupil). In other species, the pupil takes up most of the eye – this is necessary in order to close the eye from predators. But for humans, a larger sclera allows you to quickly recognize the direction of each other’s gaze. Humans are social beings whose survival depends on cooperation; being able to make eye contact helps build these important relationships.

The “system” does not always work correctly
A person recognizes someone else’s gaze with peripheral vision. But it is not always possible to see the eyes with it. If the object is strongly deviated from the gaze fixation point, we take into account the position of the beholder’s head and body, as well as other clues that allow us to understand the direction of his gaze. A study published in 2002 in PNAS shows that the brain can err on the side of caution — it will evoke a “sense of someone else’s gaze,” even when in doubt.

What if someone is looking at us from the back?
A study published in the journal Current Biology in 2013 showed that a person is programmed to think that someone might attack him until he sees that “someone”. Psychology professor Colin Clifford of the University of Sydney’s Center for Vision has found that when people cannot determine where a person is looking, they automatically assume that they are looking at them.

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