Monday, July 12, 2010

Invisible gorilla still invisible after all these years

Posted By on Mon, Jul 12, 2010 at 12:43 PM

The other day I was driving home and noticed some apartment buildings.

Hmmm, I thought, I've never seen those before.

The kicker here is that I drive this route nearly every day and have for seven years. The apartment buildings were obviously built around the 1970s. Somehow, I just missed them. Probably because when I pass those buildings, I'm usually just completing a turn, and often a lane change, in my car. In other words, my attention is somewhere else.

Apparently, I'm not the only one who misses the obvious when distracted.

Remember that "invisible gorilla" science experiment from the ’90s? In it, a scientist asks participants to look at a video of several kids passing basketballs and count the passes. The funny thing is, most participants become so focused on the ball that they don't notice that a person in a gorilla costume walks through the video, pounds his chest, and walks out of the shot.

Now you may be asking yourself, how in the heck do you miss a gorilla?

Apparently, it has something to do with what scientists call "inattentional blindness." Basically, you become highly focused on one thing — to the point of ignoring everything else.

Well, recently, a scientist went a step further with the invisible gorilla theory. He hypothesized that even if you know to expect the unexpected — like a gorilla walking through the room — you will still often fall victim to inattentional blindness.

His results were stunning. Actually, you're even more likely to miss the unexpected if you are expecting the unexpected.

Watch this:

To find out more about the experiment click here: Live Science.

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