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Research Shows How It Is Possible To Miss The 800 lb Gorilla In The Room
Imagine seeing two groups of young people playing catch with a basketball at the same time. Then a guy in a gorilla suit walks through the game, but somehow some people don't notice. How is this possible?
It’s called “Inattentional Blindness.” In other words, you see what you’re focused on and are blind to everything else.
Harvard professor Daniel Simons came up with the video of the people playing with the ball to test his theory. We asked people to watch the video and specifically count how many times the players dressed in white passed the ball. Everyone got that number right. But he really wanted to see what they saw besides what they were focused on. Just as Professor Simons predicted, half our subjects were so focused on the task they didn’t see the gorilla or thought it was just another player dressed in black.
This “Inattentional Blindness” has real world applications. Imagine you’re driving when you have to focus on a text message on a small screen. Suddenly everything around you disappears. You don’t see someone stepping into the crosswalk or a bicycle in your lane. The only way to stay safe behind the wheel is to focus on your driving, not on your smart phone. You don’t want to miss the gorilla right in front of you. That’s for sure.
By Fred Cantu