Their research suggests that the figure could now be as low as 5% – falling from around 50% in 2002. This order-of-magnitude drop is not easily explained say the research team.
“Our finding of an ∼5% incidence of extramission beliefs conflicts with previous work suggesting that more than half of US adults, possibly as high as 60 to 70%, explicitly believe in an extramission account. We cannot easily explain this difference. It is possible that education about optics has significantly improved since the 1990s. Another possibility is that our sample was skewed, since it included only participants who could sign up for an online service and complete the study on a computer.”
See: Implicit model of other people’s visual attention as an invisible, force-carrying beam projecting from the eyes in PNAS January 2, 2019 116 (1) 328-333.
The photo is a still taken from a video by Wyatt Scott who ran for parliament as an independent candidate for Mission Matsqui Fraser Canyon, Canada.