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How Can We Feel When Someone Is Staring At Us?

Have you ever had the feeling somebody was staring at you only to discover that you were right, as you awkwardly locked eyes with the starer and felt your skin crawl?

That feeling has nothing to do with your latent psychic abilities manifesting themselves, it's actually just your brain responding to social cues and reacting to the power of the human gaze.

(YouTube Link)

According to an eye opening article from Psychology Today, the gaze is so important to us socially that our brains have developed a "gaze detection system" which can actually tell when someone is staring right at us:

This "gaze detection" system is especially sensitive to whether someone's looking directly at you (for example, whether someone's staring at you or at the clock just over your shoulder). Studies that record the activity of single brain cells find that particular cells fire when someone is staring right at you, but—amazingly—not when the observer's gaze is averted just a few degrees to the left or right of you (then different cells fire instead).

This specialized machinery in the brain reveals just how important your gaze is when communicating with others. Where you look conveys how you feel and what your intentions are, what you like and what you don't like, and directs attention to meaningful things in the environment. Further, making direct eye contact is the most frequent and perhaps the most powerful non-verbal signal we exchange with others; it's central to intimacy, intimidation, and social influence.

-Via mental_floss

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