2 3 live&learn&rejoice: a short test

January 26, 2011

a short test

Please watch the video at http://www.theinvisiblegorilla.com/gorilla_experiment.html, it takes just over a minute. (sorry for the required click, i'm respecting their copyright by not just embedding the clip here.)

Apparently, according to Simons et al, selective attention means some 50% of viewers do not see the gorilla, thus the name of their book The Invisible Gorilla.

Selective attention...I've definitely got it (though, of course I saw the gorilla and being so very narrow-minded, I cannot imagine not seeing the gorilla...so I'm feeling pretty chuffed at the moment because apparently my attention is better than 50% of the population and heck that's really good enough for me....if one accepts that 50% of the viewers didn't see the gorilla, which requires some suspension of disbelief....)

In any event, fun to consider the implications of selective attention. It means I can sometimes tell you what someone wore but not what they said; I can tell you that we talked but I can't remember your telling me about a particular thing (did I really promise to go to your mother's house next weekend? no way); I remember Latrell Spreewell's intense practice before a game against the Spurs years ago, but I couldn't tell you what team he played for or how he performed in the actual game or even which team won the game; and, best of all selective attention means I only hear good news from the doctor and I never need blood work or additional tests!

So I guess we have to read The Invisible Gorilla to find out their theory but that's so tedious and imagination so quick so let's just assume that they assert we've all got some degree of selective attention, reasonable enough.

 Would be nice to remember this if ever you are on a jury panel. It's good to consider not putting too much faith in eye witnesses, no matter how articulate or confident they may appear. I suppose the invisible gorilla means we could always allow that we are wrong (though not a particularly nice option to consider) so best put another way and quickly...how about...consider that the other person is wrong but due to selective attention, there is no way for the individual to recognize the error of his/her ways.

In any event, I will employ selective attention today and not rake the leaves.

Perhaps I did not see the gorilla after all.

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