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Now see hear! Detecting being watched or listened to via extrasensory_means?


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Friday, R., & Luke, D. (2017, September). Now see hear! Detecting being watched or listened to via extrasensory means. Paper presented to the 41st Society for Psychical Research International Annual Conference, East Horsley, 1st-3rd September. Many people have turned to see someone behind them due to a ‘sense’ they were being watched. Others have 'inexplicably’ become aware of a conversation involving them, despite it being inaudible. There are many theoretical explanations for these events, one of which is that extrasensory awareness is evolutionarily advantageous, and therefore may have developed during an era in which danger was ever-present with survival depending on such capabilities. Evidence supporting the existence of extrasensory surveillance detection would have implications beyond purely scientific interest, yet the phenomena remains under-researched and may benefit from a fresh approach. New research being conducted at the University of Greenwich is examining not only the possible existence of ‘psychic’ detection – but also which measures best predict this ability should it exist. The ability to detect attention has previously been restricted to the psychic staring effect, also known as scopaesthesia - a phenomenon in which people respond via non-conventional means to being the subject of another persons’ gaze (Sheldrake 2003). However, a new investigation has been furthering the research by incorporating the sense of being heard as well as seen, which we call acoustasthesia. The existence of these abilities was gauged in an initial experiment by the accuracy of participant’s self-reports of being watched or listened to, physiological reactions determined by electrodermal activity (EDA) which measures the electrical conductance of the participant’s skin to indicate arousal, and differences in their behaviour under varying conditions a) not under any surveillance (control group), b) whilst being watched, c) whilst being listened to, and d) whilst being watched and listened to). Results of the self-reporting aspect of the experiment suggested that whilst the data appeared to initially show participants were able to detect being watched and listened to, when reporting bias was accounted for the results were not significantly different from control conditions. Similarly, the participants’ EDA during the physiological reaction section of the experiment produced results that were not significant, however there were very interesting and highly sign View full abstract
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