People often think that others gradually being watched, even if it is not — the conclusion made by Australian psychologists.
In the ambiguous situation of the human brain sends a signal to the owner that he was being watched, — the article says, summing up the study by the University of Sydney. The article was published in the scientific journal «Current Biology».
The ability to feel the someone's gaze — it is a social phenomenon that people often take "on faith" — says Professor University School of Psychology Colin Clifford.
"This ability may seem natural, but, in fact, the brain has to spend a lot of work for us to have a feeling someone else's eyes."
"In order to determine what is watching us, we estimate the direction of another person's eyes and the position of his head — explained Professor Clifford. The results of these "sightings" directed to certain areas of the brain, where the information is processed. "
However brain passively receives the information from the eye. Research shows that when available "data" is not enough — for example, in low-light situations or when other person's eyes are hidden behind glasses — our brain verdict, based on the fact that "knows".
In the experiment, the researchers asked the participants to determine whether they are viewing other people.
"We tried to make it difficult for people to see where in fact directed the views of those they evaluated. To conclude, they had to be guided by its previous observations and experiences. It turned out that, in an ambiguous situation, we tend to come to the conclusion that looking at us. "
"So the feeling of another's gaze is not more to do with the" visual cues ". Our brain makes the assumption, based on previous experience, and compares this with the fact that he sees in the moment. "
As to why we are so easy to believe that we were being watched, there are several versions:
First, the observation of the signal may be superior or even the threat, and if you perceive something as a threat, there is always better to be safe. Safer to calculate that for you stared at, even if it is not, than to miss a real danger.
Second, the look can be a sign that someone wants to enter into dialogue with us, and we can "mentally prepare" for the upcoming conversation.
In addition, according to the researchers, young children love when they directed gaze — that is, it is likely that the inclination of the in question may be congenital.
"It is important to understand innate or acquired property — and how it manifests itself in people in different psychological states" — says Professor Clifford.
"The study found, for example, that autism may be least likely to say that someone is looking at them. People experiencing a "social anxiety", by contrast, tend more often to be deceived, believing that they are being watched. "
"If this behavior is acquired, then we can learn how to make excessive anxiety such people — for example, to give them the opportunity to watch a lot of people with different positions of the eyes and the tilt of the head, and then check the results of their observations" — concluded Professor Clifford.