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There's a system in our brains that detects where others are looking, and can tell the difference between when someone is looking directly at you or is just looking over your shoulder. According to Psychology Today, "Studies that record the activity of single brain cells find that particular cells fire when someone is staring right at you, but—amazingly—not when the observer's gaze is averted just a few degrees to the left or right of you (then different cells fire instead)."
The idea was first explored by psychologist Edward B. Titchener in 1898 during a series of laboratory experiments that found only negative results. It has been the subject of contemporary attention from parapsychologists and fringe researchers, most notably Rupert Sheldrake.