From time to time Rupert needs information from the public to assist in his research. Please email your observations to
Does your cat know who's calling?
Some people's cats seem to know when a particular person is calling, and get excited. Some cats sit by the telephone until it is answered. They ignore calls from people they are not interested in. We would like to hear from anyone who has noticed cats responding to phone calls. Some dogs and parrots also seem to respond to calls from people they know and we would like to hear about them too.
Have you thought of someone who then sends you a text message?
Many people have found that they think of someone for no apparent reason and then that person calls on the telephone. Many people have had similar experiences with emails. I would like to know if the same thing happens with text messages. If you have noticed this, please let me know about your experiences.
Can You Feel a Difference Between a Live TV Show and a Recording?
I want to find out if some people can feel a difference between a live TV show and a recording. For example, if you' re watching a football match broadcast live, at the same time that you're seeing it, millions of other people may be watching and experiencing similar emotions as the game progresses. By contrast, if you watch the same match on a DVD or video recording when almost no one else is watching it, there will be very few people feeling the same emotions at the same time as you. I'm trying to find out if people can feel a difference between live and recorded events while they are watching them. Of course, this is hard to separate out your conscious knowledge of whether it is live or recorded from your feelings when watching it. I'm thinking of carrying out experiments in which these effects could be teased apart. But meanwhile I would like to hear from anyone who's noticed a difference between watching live and recorded events and would be interested in any observations you may be able to share.
Can you wake a sleeping animal by staring at it?
I am researching the sensitivity of sleeping animals to being stared at. Many people have found that they can sometimes detect when someone is staring at them from behind, and turn round. Conversely, many people have found they can make others turn around by staring at them. Experiments have shown that this ability to detect stares really exists, and that most people have it. I discuss this research in detail in my recent book. The Sense of Being Stared At
Animals also seem to respond to stares. The evolutionary origins of this response might lie in predator/prey relations. If a prey animal can feel when a hidden predator is looking at it, then it might stand a better chance of escaping.
Sleeping animals are particularly vulnerable, and it may be that they too can feel when they are being stared at. Some pet owners have told me that they can wake their sleeping dog or cat by looking at it, and some people who keep chickens as pets have found that they can wake a roosting bird by staring.
I am currently trying to find out more about the sensitivity of sleeping animals to being stared at. I would be very grateful to hear from any readers of experiences they may have had in waking animals by looks. This need not necessarily involve a deliberate attempt to wake the animal by staring at it hard. Maybe more passive looks also have an effect.