By Nick Collins and agencies 12:36PM BST 12 Apr 2013
The feeling that other people are staring at you is hard-wired into your brain, even if no one is paying you the slightest bit of attention, scientists have found.
The feeling that others are watching us is an evolutionary mechanism designed to keep us alert and ready for interaction before it really happens, experts said.
While we usually keep on our guard by monitoring the position of people’s heads and the direction of their gaze, certain conditions such as darkness or someone wearing sunglasses can make this impossible.
But a study found that in these circumstances our brain intervenes to make us feel as if we are being watched, to keep us prepared for potential threats.
Prof Colin Clifford, a psychologist at the University of Sydney who led the research, explained: “It turns out we’re hard-wired to believe others are staring at us.