It’s definitely an anomaly, but what kind of anomaly is it? In the British Journal of Psychology this month there is a meta-analysis of studies of electrodermal response to being stared at – or, to put it another way, a review of the evidence on whether we have a sixth sense to detect when people are looking at us. The review looked at two different paradigms and, quoting the conclusion:

We conclude that for both data sets that there is a small, but significant effect. This result corresponds to the recent findings of studies on distant healing and the `feeling of being stared at?. Therefore, the existence of some anomaly related to distant intentions cannot be ruled out. The lack of methodological rigour in the existing database prohibits final conclusions and calls for further research, especially for independent replications on larger data sets. There is no specific theoretical conception we know of that can incorporate this phenomenon into the current body of scientific knowledge. Thus, theoretical research allowing for and describing plausible mechanisms for such effects is necessary. [My emphasis].

So that’s okay then – just casually suggest that the entire physicalist basis of western science may be in error. Surely this result should either be better supported and in a better journal, or not published at all.

Thoughts anyone?

Schmidt, S., Schneider, R., Utts, J. & Walach, H. (2004). Distant intentionality and the feeling of being stared at: two meta-analyses. British Journal of Psychology, 95, 235-247