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2015 Vol. 79(2) 203-218

John A. Palmer, Ph.D.
Parapsychology Press


Baker, I. (2015). Article. The Relationship of the Feeling of Being Watched to Paranoia, Self-Consciousness, and Social Anxiety. Journal of Parapsychology, 79(2), 203-218.


The Relationship of the Feeling of Being Watched to Paranoia, Self-Consciousness, and Social Anxiety

Ian S. Baker

The common experience of the feeling of being watched by another has been experimentally examined for over 100 years. However, little research has been conducted to investigate the belief in this phenomenon in detail or potential relationships to related personality measures. In two studies, sampling over 2,500 people and using a new measure, belief in remote staring detection was shown to decrease as barriers between the starer and staree increased. In addition, an exploratory factor analysis demonstrated that belief in remote staring detection is complex and is related to a sense of presence (collectively referred to here as paranormal perceptual awareness or PPA). It is also different from both extramission (i.e., something is emitted from the eye when one looks at something) and the belief in an “evil-eye” (i.e., one person can cause harm to another person just by looking at them). Both extramission and evil-eye beliefs are collectively defined here as eye-energy belief or EEB. Multivariate multiple regression analysis revealed that personality measures of self-consciousness, paranoia, and social anxiety significantly predicted both PPA and EEB. However, PPA belief implies more generalised awareness of one’s social interactions, albeit interpreted through paranormal mechanisms, whereas EEB belief suggests greater concern regarding how another’s gaze can impact oneself, particularly with negative connotations.


remote staring detection, belief, paranoia, self-consciousness, supernatural monitoring hypothesis

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