Psychology / The Invisible Gorilla Summaries

The Invisible Gorilla Summaries

Autor:  Zomby  08 August 2011
Words: 3476   |   Pages: 14
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Chapter 1: I Think I would Have Seen That

Chapter one introduces the first everyday illusion that our minds are subject to: the illusion of attention. Dan and Chris, psychology professors at Harvard University, conducted an experiment, “The Invisible Gorilla,” that tested a subject’s visual attention and awareness. During the experiment, which was recorded, a team would move around and pass a basketball back and forth, and the subject was told to count each pass. Halfway though the video, someone in a gorilla costume walked behind the players, thumped its chest, and continued to walk, noticeable for approximately nine seconds. Surprisingly, half of the subjects completely missed the gorilla! This experiment is widely known and is taught in many psychology classes around the world. Because people devote all their attention to one particular task or area, they will usually not notice unexpected objects, no matter how obvious they may seem. There are multiple cases that exemplify inattentional blindness; one case is that of Kenny Conley: a police officer who was chasing down a murder suspect and ignorantly passed a fellow officer who was being assaulted. Despite several interrogations, he consistently denied ever witnessing the assault of his colleague take place. Without any evidence to support his claim, “he was indicted for perjury and obstruction of justice.” In another circumstance, a US submarine surfaced under a Japanese fishing vessel, despite the captain having thoroughly examined the particular area before ascending. Inattentional blindness is also often times the cause behind road collisions. One type of collision occurs when a car goes to make a left hand turn while a motorcycle is crossing the intersection. This mostly happens because even though the motorcyclist is in plain sight, the car driver is not expecting to see a motorcycle, but rather another car. Attempts to make motorcyclists more noticeable are fruitless; Steve Most (Delaware) and Brian Scholl (Yale) conducted a similar gorilla experiment in which a red cross traversed a black and white screen, the “red gorilla” experiment. Astonishingly, 30% of the subjects completely missed the red cross. Another collision occurs when the driver is engaged in a conversation on their cell phone. While people tend to believe that as long as they are looking at their surroundings and have their hands on the wheel, they will be able to accordingly react to any given situation, driving while using a c ...