This is Scientific American — 60-Second Science. I'm Karen Hopkin.
You're at a party and you suddenly feel someone looking at you. But how can it be possible to feel another person's gaze? I mean, it's not like people shoot actual beams out of their eyes. Yet...a new study suggests that, unconsciously, we actually do believe that looking exerts a slight force on the things being looked at. That eye-opening finding appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Vision depends on light entering the eye...a form of ocular intromission, if you will. But kids...even those in college...often express a belief in "extramission"...the idea that the eyes emit a form of invisible energy.
To probe this perception, researchers at Princeton asked volunteers to look at a computer screen and gauge the angle at which a cardboard tube...shown being slowly tilted on its side... would finally topple over. Now, in some of the tests, they included an image of a young man watching the tube as it tilted toward him.
What the researchers found is that, when there was someone staring at the tube, subjects thought that the tube could tilt a little further before it toppled toward the fella looking at it. Which means that, unconsciously, the volunteers must have imagined that the guy's gaze exerted a slight force on the tube, keeping it from falling.
But this force was not strong. When the researchers replaced the cardboard tube with a brick, the subjects felt that the Jedi eye beams wouldn't support the added weight...they said the brick would fall at the same angle, whether or not there was someone there to watch it.
Interestingly, when the participants were explicitly asked about eyeball extramission, only 5 percent of them fessed up to believing in some sort of force being exerted by the eyes. But deep down, it looks like many of us put stock in the awesome power of the stare down. Just don't depend on it if something weighty is about to fall your way.
Thanks for listening for Scientific American — 60-Second Science. I'm Karen Hopkin.
你正在参加聚会，突然感觉有人在看你 。那我们是怎么感觉到另一个人的注视的呢？我的意思是，这又不像是人们的眼睛里真的射出光来 。但是，一项新研究表明，我们确实会不自觉地相信注视会向被注视物施加轻微的力量 。这项令人眼界大开的发现发表在《美国国家科学学院院刊》上 。
视觉依赖于进入眼睛的光线，如果你不介意这种说法的话，这是一种“眼睛插入” 。但是孩子，甚至是那些上大学的孩子，经常表示他们相信“眼睛外射”理论，即眼睛会释放出一种无形的能量 。
为了检测这种感觉，普林斯顿大学的研究人员让志愿者看电脑屏幕，屏幕上显示一个硬纸管正在缓慢地向一边倾斜，志愿者要估算这个硬纸管最终倒下时的角度 。在一些测试中，研究人员将一名年轻男子观看纸管倒向自已的画面放入了屏幕中 。
研究人员发现，当屏幕中有人盯着纸管时，试验参与者认为纸管还可以再倾斜一点，然后才会倒向盯着纸管看的人 。这表明，在不知不觉中，志愿者一定想象过图中男子的注视向纸管施加了轻微的力，以防止纸管倒下 。
但这种力量并不强 。当研究人员用砖块代替纸管时，试验参与者感觉绝地武士的目光无法支撑新增的重量，他们表示，无论是否有人盯着砖头看，砖头都会以同样的角度倒下 。
有趣的是，当参与者被明确地问及眼球外射理论时，只有5%的人坦承相信眼睛会施加某种力 。但在内心深处，我们很多人似乎都相信“目光压制”的神奇力量 。如果有重物向你倒下来，你可不要指望能盯走它 。
谢谢大家收听科学美国人——60秒科学 。我是凯伦·霍普金 。
1. exert on 施加（影响、压力等）；行使，运用（权威等）；
The moon exerts a force on the earth that causes the tides.
2. topple over (使)摇摇欲坠；(使)不稳而倒下；
The tree is so badly damaged they are worried it might topple over.
3. stare at 盯着看；凝视；注视；
I would rather stare at a clear, star-filled sky than a TV set.
4. fess up 供认；坦白；
He fessed up to the fact that he was too old.