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科学美国人60秒: 测量一个人注视的力度

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Measuring the Strength of a Person's Gaze

测量一个人注视的力度

You’re at a party and you suddenly feel someone looking at you. But how can it be possible to feel another person’s glance? 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. [Arvid Guterstam et al, Implicit model of other people’s visual attention as an invisible, force-carrying beam projecting from the eyes]

你在一个聚会上,突然觉得有人在看着你。但是怎么可能感觉到另一个人的目光呢?我的意思是,这不像人们从眼睛里射出真正的光芒。然而,一项新的研究表明,在不知不觉中,我们确实相信注视会对被注视的事物产生轻微的影响。这项令人大开眼界的发现发表在《美国国家科学院院刊》上。

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.

视觉依赖于光线进入眼睛……如果你愿意的话,这是一种眼睛内的遗漏。但是孩子们,甚至是那些上大学的孩子们,经常表达出一种“超视觉”的信念,即眼睛会释放出一种无形的能量。为了探究这一观点,普林斯顿大学的研究人员让志愿者们看着电脑屏幕,测量一个纸筒(显示纸筒缓慢地向一边倾斜)最终会翻到的角度。现在,在一些测试中,他们包括了一个年轻人看着管子向他倾斜的画面。

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.

研究人员发现,当有人盯着管子看时,被试者认为管子可以再倾斜一点,然后再倒向看管子的人。这就意味着,志愿者们在不知不觉中,一定是在想象这个家伙的目光对管子施加了轻微的力,使它不会掉下去。

But this force was not strong. When the researchers replaced the cardboard tube with a brick, the subjects felt that the Jedi eyebeams 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.

但这种力量并不强大。当研究人员用砖块代替纸板筒时,被试者觉得绝地的光束无法支撑增加的重量……他们说砖块会以同样的角度掉落,不管有没有人在那里观看。

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 staredown. Just don’t depend on it if something weighty is about to fall your way.

有趣的是,当参与者被明确问及眼球外溢时,只有5%的人承认相信眼睛有某种力。但在内心深处,我们很多人似乎都相信星空的强大力量。如果有什么重大的事情要发生在你身上,不要依赖它。

Measuring the Strength of a Person's Gaze

You’re at a party and you suddenly feel someone looking at you. But how can it be possible to feel another person’s glance? 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 eyebeams 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 staredown. Just don’t depend on it if something weighty is about to fall your way.


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