The Fire That Comes from the Eye

  title={The Fire That Comes from the Eye},
  author={Charles G. Gross},
  journal={The Neuroscientist},
  pages={58 - 64}
  • C. Gross
  • Published 1 January 1999
  • Psychology
  • The Neuroscientist
One of the earliest ideas about vision is that it depends on light that streams out of the eye and detects surrounding objects. This view was attacked in its own time and finally disproved more than 2000 years later. Yet the idea of a beam leaving the eye persisted in beliefs both about the evil eye and the power of a lover's gaze. It is still widely held among both children and adults. NEUROSCIENTIST 5:58-64, 1999 

Figures from this paper

Exploring Extramission: Plato’s Intraocular “Fire” Revisited
It is suggested that extramission today is a concept that concerns not the eyes and optics but gaze and perception.
Implicit model of other people’s visual attention as an invisible, force-carrying beam projecting from the eyes
It is reported that people automatically and unconsciously treat other people’s eyes as if beams of force-carrying energy emanate from them, gently pushing on objects in the world.
Other people’s gaze encoded as implied motion in the human brain
Significance This study used fMRI scans of people to show that the brain processes the gaze of others, and visual flow, in a similar manner. Visual motion brain areas and social cognition areas were
A motion aftereffect from viewing other people’s gaze
The findings suggest that the attentive gaze of others is encoded as an implied agent-to-object motion that is sufficiently robust to cause genuine motion aftereffects, though subtle enough to remain subthreshold.
Human consciousness and its relationship to social neuroscience: A novel hypothesis
A variety of lines of evidence are brought together, including experiments on the neural basis of social perception, on hemispatial neglect, on the out-of-body experience, on mirror neurons, and on the mechanisms of decision-making, to explore the possibility that awareness is a construct of the social machinery in the brain.
Thought Extramission: The Eyes Project Conceptual Maps at Close Distance
It is shown that the eyes project thoughts a short distance away in the form of high-resolution conceptual maps whose structure collapses at great distances, which highlights the supporting role of the visual system for thought processes relying on contrast, luminance, and perspective formation.
Implied motion as a possible mechanism for encoding other people’s attention
View From Outside the Viewing Sphere
The ‘viewing sphere’, as defined by Euclid and explored by Gibson as the ‘optic array’, is generally thought of as wrapped around the eye. Can an observer step out of it? With currently popular
Should Damage to the Machinery of Social Perception Damage Perception?
It is argued that Graziano and Kastner are mistaken to claim that neglect favors their self-directed social perception account of consciousness, and that neglect is better explained in terms of damage to attentional mechanisms.
Toward a standard model of consciousness: Reconciling the attention schema, global workspace, higher-order thought, and illusionist theories
How people’s understanding of consciousness may have been shaped by an implicit theory of mind is examined to help to make sense of an apparent divide between the physically incoherent consciousness the authors think they have and the complex, rich, but mechanistic consciousness they may actually have.


Theories of Vision from Al-Kindi to Kepler
David C Lindberg London: University of Chicago Press 1976 pp xii + 324 price £13.60 The sense of vision is so intimately a part of ourselves that its investigation has been hampered by our prejudices
Development in the Understanding of Perception: The Decline of Extramission Perception Beliefs.
Ancient philosophers, including Plato, Euclid, and Ptolemy, believed in an extramission theory of visual perception, which held that there are emissions from the eyes during the act of vision. Three
Effects of drawing on directional representations of the process of vision
Four experiments demonstrated that children and adults, when asked to represent vision schematically, have a bias to draw arrows pointing away from the eye and toward a visual referent, avoiding the
Images, words, and questions: variables that influence beliefs about vision in children and adults.
The differences between graphic and verbal question presentations are consistent with theory on the origins of extramission beliefs, suggest that beliefs can vary as a function of form of symbolization, and are contrary to long-standing beliefs of educators and psychologists that emphasize the importance of concrete, pictorial representation.
Conditions affecting beliefs about visual perception among children and adults.
The present research showed that when questions about vision referred to luminous as opposed to non-luminous objects, under certain conditions there was some increase in intromissions beliefs, but almost no corresponding decline in extramission beliefs, and no evidence of transfer of intromission responses to questions referring to nonl Luminous objects.
Theories of vision from Al-Kindi to Kepler
Preface 1: The Background: Ancient Theories of Vision 2: Al Kindi's Critique of Euclid's Theory of Vision 3: Galenists and Aristotelians in Islam 4: Alhazen and the New Intromission Theory of Vision
Purkynĕ's description of pressure phosphenes and modern neurophysiological studies on the generation of phosphenes by eyeball deformation.
The neurophysiological basis of the monocular pressure phosphenes was investigated by means of microelectrode recordings from single optic tract fibers and it is assumed that the activation of on-center and inhibition of off-center ganglion cells by eyeball deformation are caused by retinal stretching, which also leads to horizontal cell stretch.
The Evil Eye: A Folklore Casebook
The author traces the development of perimeters and identifies the principles involved in their design, and describes in detail most perimeters marketed today and in the market.
On the history of deformation phosphenes and the idea of internal light generated in the eye for the purpose of vision
After Kepler, the mechanical interpretation of the deformation phosphene being caused by direct action of the eyeball deformation onto the retina slowly became dominant, and the idea that physical light is generated in the eye disappeared.
'Lo Cop Mortal': The Evil Eye and the Origins of Courtly Love
"There be none of the Affections, which have beene noted to fascinate, or bewitch but Love, and Envy. They both have vehement wishes; They frame themselves readily into the Eye; especially upon the