Tuesday 27 November 2012

Did You See It?

Cognitive psychologists Daniel Simons and Christopher Chabris (1999) revealed how people can focus so hard on something that they become blind to the unexpected, even when staring right at it! ''Inattentional blindness'' illustrates how easy we miss details when we are not looking out for them. This classic study asked participants to focus on a video of people passing basketballs. Half of the players were dressed in black while the others wore white. The participants were asked to count the number of passes 
made by the players dressed in white while ignoring the players dressed in black. However, the most startling aspect of this research is that many participants failed to notice a player dressed in a gorilla costume walk as cross the stage, beat his chest, and walk out of sight. To all purposes, the gorilla had turned invisible. Although people try to rationalise why they missed the gorilla it is hard to explain such a failure of awareness without confronting the possibility that we are aware of far less of the world than we think.