Notes Psychology

Myth 4: Visual Perceptions Are Accompanied by Tiny Emissions from the Eyes (50 Great Myths of Popular Psychology)

A surprising number of adults believe that if they fixate on an object, emissions come out. Piaget observed that this belief begins early in life. He notes the case of one child who thought that the looks of two people can connect and mix together. Over half of elementary school children believe that something is emitted from their eyes when they see.

One of the first people to come up with this idea was Plato, who spoke about a “fire” that came out your eye, which coalesced with daylight, and resulted in seeing. Euclid had a similar view before Aristotle rejected the “extramission theory” of vision. But this didn’t put an end to the belief. In the Mediterranean, the Arab World, Central America, many people believe in the “evil eye”, the idea that psychological harm can be inflicted on others through one’s eyes. The Bible refers to the evil eye in both the Old and New Testaments. And ancient Egyptians used eye shadow to ward off evil spirits.

Other sources include Shakespeare’s line “A lover’s gaze will gaze an eagle blind.” And in everyday language, phrases like “penetrating glance” and “piercing stare” are used.

"Silence is the best expression of scorn" - G.B. Shaw

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