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Mon Jan 7, 2013, 07:32 PM

The Invisible Gorilla In The Room: One reason so many people are so ignorant

Basically you don't see what you're not looking for, combine that with a media designed to take advantage of the fact that people are distracted and aren't paying attention and you get ignorance on a massive scale.

http://www.theinvisiblegorilla.com/gorilla_experiment.html

&feature=player_embedded

Imagine you are asked to watch a short video (above) in which six people-three in white shirts and three in black shirts-pass basketballs around. While you watch, you must keep a silent count of the number of passes made by the people in white shirts. At some point, a gorilla strolls into the middle of the action, faces the camera and thumps its chest, and then leaves, spending nine seconds on screen. Would you see the gorilla?

Almost everyone has the intuition that the answer is "yes, of course I would." How could something so obvious go completely unnoticed? But when we did this experiment at Harvard University several years ago, we found that half of the people who watched the video and counted the passes missed the gorilla. It was as though the gorilla was invisible.

This experiment reveals two things: that we are missing a lot of what goes on around us, and that we have no idea that we are missing so much.

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Reply The Invisible Gorilla In The Room: One reason so many people are so ignorant (Original post)
Fumesucker Jan 2013 OP
jody Jan 2013 #1
Fumesucker Jan 2013 #2
jody Jan 2013 #5
Fumesucker Jan 2013 #9
jody Jan 2013 #10
Fumesucker Jan 2013 #12
jody Jan 2013 #14
Fumesucker Jan 2013 #15
hfojvt Jan 2013 #41
CrispyQ Jan 2013 #53
awoke_in_2003 Jan 2013 #19
Fumesucker Jan 2013 #36
awoke_in_2003 Jan 2013 #49
Nye Bevan Jan 2013 #3
pscot Jan 2013 #6
Poll_Blind Jan 2013 #43
graham4anything Jan 2013 #4
surrealAmerican Jan 2013 #7
Fumesucker Jan 2013 #8
loyalsister Jan 2013 #11
Fumesucker Jan 2013 #13
loyalsister Jan 2013 #17
Fumesucker Jan 2013 #20
loyalsister Jan 2013 #21
Fumesucker Jan 2013 #23
loyalsister Jan 2013 #27
Fumesucker Jan 2013 #29
loyalsister Jan 2013 #33
Fumesucker Jan 2013 #35
loyalsister Jan 2013 #45
Fumesucker Jan 2013 #48
loyalsister Jan 2013 #54
Mojorabbit Jan 2013 #40
hunter Jan 2013 #58
Oilwellian Jan 2013 #47
TlalocW Jan 2013 #16
DryHump Jan 2013 #18
LWolf Jan 2013 #22
XRubicon Jan 2013 #24
Fumesucker Jan 2013 #26
hfojvt Jan 2013 #42
PETRUS Jan 2013 #25
CitizenK9 Jan 2013 #28
Brother Buzz Jan 2013 #30
Fumesucker Jan 2013 #31
Brother Buzz Jan 2013 #32
Enrique Jan 2013 #34
ancianita Jan 2013 #37
cthulu2016 Jan 2013 #38
Fumesucker Jan 2013 #39
hfojvt Jan 2013 #44
Duer 157099 Jan 2013 #46
Odin2005 Jan 2013 #50
liberal N proud Jan 2013 #51
alberg Jan 2013 #52
Warren DeMontague Jan 2013 #56
Warren DeMontague Jan 2013 #55
reformist2 Jan 2013 #57

Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 07:42 PM

1. IMO people are ignorant because they don't or can't listen with their senses. All through K-12

 

and college, students are taught to read, write, and speak but almost never to listen.

Effective listening precedes asking key questions that may lead to clearly defining the problem of supposed interest and subsequently to viable solutions.

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Response to jody (Reply #1)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 07:52 PM

2. Pay too much attention and you get overwhelmed with data

We really aren't good at multitasking, our efficiency drops off a lot, that's why talking on the phone and driving is so dangerous.

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #2)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 08:01 PM

5. Agree. One must learn to focus on the topic not unlike concentration of an athlete, e.g. golfer.

 

I've been fascinated by the quiet eye, one article at http://psycnet.apa.org/psycinfo/2001-18734-004

I compete in a sport that benefits from "quiet eye" training and also coach other competitors.

I've observed it's very difficult to retrain someone from their old habits and that's only focusing on vision.

Trying to coordinate all senses on a single issue seems overwhelming.

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Response to jody (Reply #5)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 08:30 PM

9. Our senses are to a big extent ad hoc hacks, vision particularly so

It's startlingly easy to fool vision and yet it's the sense we tend to most believe on sight so to speak.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saccade

Humans and many other animals do not look at a scene in fixed steadiness (as opposed to most birds, for example); instead, the eyes move around, locating interesting parts of the scene and building up a mental, three-dimensional 'map' corresponding to the scene (as opposed to the graphical map of avians, that often relies upon detection of angular movement on the retina). When scanning the scene in front of you or reading these words right now, your eyes make jerky saccadic movements and your eyes stop several times, moving very quickly between each stop. We can not consciously control the speed of movement between stops and during each saccade; the eyes move as fast as they can. One reason for the saccadic movement of the human eye is that the central part of the retina—known as the fovea—plays a critical role in resolving objects. By moving the eye so that small parts of a scene can be sensed with greater resolution, body resources can be used more efficiently.

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #9)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 08:38 PM

10. Understand, that's why the "quiet eye" concept is so intriguing. Foveal vision feeds one part of

 

the brain and peripheral vision another.

Research found that super athletes concentrated their foveal vision for about 5-10 seconds before completing the task.

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Response to jody (Reply #10)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 08:41 PM

12. I thought you probably knew, that was more for others reading the thread

I've heard a lot of this stuff over the years but never really concentrated on it and then I read something recently that got me interested again so I started researching some terms.

The inattentive blindness really is something to behold, a poster in the thread says his wife refused to believe the gorilla walked through the video.

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #12)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 08:49 PM

14. I've worked on vision concepts for so long as a competitor that it's now purely unconscious.

 

I really get frustrated when hiking with someone and try to point out some animal or plant and they have extreme difficulty finding it.

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Response to jody (Reply #14)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 08:56 PM

15. I suspect though that those people in their environment could see things you found difficult

Ride around with a brick mason and he'll point out everywhere someone screwed up the block laying, you and I will never notice it and find it hard to see even when pointed out.

Get a new (to you) car and all of a sudden you start seeing that car everywhere.

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Response to jody (Reply #10)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 01:28 AM

41. I notice that in chess, at least at low levels

I feel like many times I beat people at chess, not because I have better strategy or long, complicated and sneaky attacks, but mainly because I see better or see more. I observed one match between two players where one player missed a mate in one. I often joke about vitamin A deficiences, because many people cannot seem to see where a Knight can go and wreak havoc, and I call that Knight blindness.

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Response to hfojvt (Reply #41)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 01:45 PM

53. Did you ever watch the movie "Searching for Bobby Fischer"?

It's about a little boy (10?) who is great at chess. In one scene with his instructor, the boy can't see the move. He's leaning on the table, looking & looking & can't see it. His instructor, Ben Kingsley, sweeps his arm across the board, sending all the pieces clattering to the floor. The little boy sits up, astonished. In a quiet voice, Kingsley tells the boy to look again.

I don't play chess, but I thought it was a great scene. It's a great film.

I love Joan Allen, the quiet mother bear you had best not cross. She is such an excellent actress. Very underrated, imo.

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #9)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 09:18 PM

19. The fact that vision can be so easily fooled...

is what makes for successful magicians.

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Response to awoke_in_2003 (Reply #19)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 11:18 PM

36. And that our mind can be so easily fooled

Is what makes for successful politicians.

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #36)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 12:21 PM

49. +1000. nt

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Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 07:53 PM

3. What gorilla? Did you post the wrong video? (nt)

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Response to Nye Bevan (Reply #3)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 08:11 PM

6. I watched it with my wife

She focused on the white shirts and did not see the gorilla. I watched for the gorilla a saw him. On viewing the film a second time, she saw the gorilla, but refused to accept that the gorilla had been there the first time we watched it.

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Response to pscot (Reply #6)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 01:48 AM

43. LOL, same here! The second time I watched, I refused to believe it was...

...there the first time.



PB

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Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 07:54 PM

4. It is why after every major event, except for plants, eyewitnesses see nothing

 

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Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 08:12 PM

7. It's not only a weakness ...

... it's a strength. The half of the people who didn't even notice te gorilla were more likely to accurately report the number of passes. It's the people who are easily distracted who see the gorilla. Those who focus on the task don't see it, because they're looking for the passes.

We need to stop letting the media monopolize our focus. The the fact that we can focus is not necessarily a problem.

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Response to surrealAmerican (Reply #7)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 08:16 PM

8. That's right folks, don't touch that dial

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Response to surrealAmerican (Reply #7)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 08:38 PM

11. "The the fact that we can focus is not necessarily a problem"

My thoughts exactly. Focus, concentration, purposeful learning, purposeful attentiveness....
If a person has the TV on while reading and ends up remembering a piece from the newspaper but has no idea how a sitcom ended what is the loss?
Conservatives and liberals accuse each other of being ignorant. Both are wrong and both are right. There is plenty of ignorance to go around. Much of it comes from not focusing.

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Response to loyalsister (Reply #11)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 08:46 PM

13. I find it hard to believe you think the average freeper is as well informed as the average DUer

Of course individuals vary a lot, that's a given but "both sides do it" is getting a little old when one side of the political spectrum has gone off the edge of the world into sheer irrationality.

My point is that if you aren't looking for something it can be right in front of you and you will refuse to believe it was ever there at all.

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #13)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 09:16 PM

17. Equating basic perceptual processes with purposeful intellectual processes is really reaching

"we're smarter than they are" is used by opposing sides- from cliques, to political groups to explain the possibility that someone may disagree.

My sister is very liberal and a radical PETA supporter. Throwing blood on other people and claiming that animals healthcare is as important as that of humans is a little over the edge.

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Response to loyalsister (Reply #17)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 09:19 PM

20. I never mentioned intelligence, only information

Ignorance has to do with a lack of information, not intelligence.

Your sister has zero political power in this nation, not so for the radical right wingers.

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #20)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 09:33 PM

21. Seriously?

Equating irrational RW ideas with the most basic and totally universal perceptual errors is way off base.

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Response to loyalsister (Reply #21)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 09:44 PM

23. You don't think perceptual errors have anything to do with people being ignorant?

The media prime people to see things a certain way "Age of the Earth? Opinions differ, we'll be right back with our panel of pundits after these messages." and then they see them that way.

If you can keep people focusing on the wrong things you can make the gorilla invisible.

Propaganda, magic tricks, camouflage whatever you want to call it the misdirection is pretty obvious once you finally see it but you have to be looking for it in the first place or it's so often invisible.

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #23)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 10:07 PM

27. I studied perception and memory

At the basic level as in the experiment ignoring the gorilla when focusing on the balls is entirely involuntary. It is ridiculous to try to extrapolate ti to things that are intentionally ignored.

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Response to loyalsister (Reply #27)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 10:14 PM

29. For a lot of people things that conflict with the propaganda are indeed unintentionally ignored

They really don't see the gorilla.

The poster upthread said his wife refused to believe the gorilla walked through the video the first time even after seeing it replayed.

If you have a story that focuses your attention on one way of looking at things, that's the way you'll see things. The media concentrates on providing the story that focuses your attention away from certain ways of seeing things.



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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #29)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 10:33 PM

33. The experiment shows that not seeing the gorilla is adaptive

To be able to actually gather information despite the presence of a large irrelevant visual distraction is an adaptation that we have developed over many many years of evolution.

You seem to be attempting to use automatic attention processes as a metaphor for meaningful interpretations or intentional disregarding of information. There is no comparison.

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Response to loyalsister (Reply #33)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 11:11 PM

35. This quote comes from the experimenters.

This experiment reveals two things: that we are missing a lot of what goes on around us, and that we have no idea that we are missing so much.


I really don't think they are just talking about visual perception here.

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #35)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 02:14 AM

45. If that's the case they are clueless

They were dealing with automatic perception. OF COURSE we are missing a lot. If we were digesting all of it. We have a great deal of trouble walking down the street let alone driving. We can only see or hear in ways that make sense if we automatically ignore A LOT of stuff. Missing the gorilla is natural and adaptive.

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Response to loyalsister (Reply #45)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 08:28 AM

48. At no point have I indicated that missing the gorilla is not "natural"

And I'm not quite sure what you mean by "adaptive" in this respect.

My point is that such behavior is not limited strictly to vision, it extends to any pattern seeking behavior in humans.

Our pattern seeking behavior in general is subject to being distracted by any number of means. If you set people to seeking one sort of pattern then they will be far less likely to notice another pattern that may be just as strong but which they have not been primed to search for.

The general principle is that you tend to find you are seeking, a cognitive bias. The invisible gorilla effect is a subset of cognitive bias and a demonstration of the basic principle.







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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #48)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 04:46 PM

54. Being able to ignore some stimuli is adaptive

Last edited Tue Jan 8, 2013, 08:19 PM - Edit history (1)

If a person were to drive along the highway and process every single piece of visual perception including peripheral how far do you think they would get? It's only because we can ignore our peripheral vision, and other details that we can direct our attention to gather and use meaningful information. If we spotted every gorilla, we would sacrifice so much of our attention that would not process or remember information we truly are interested in or need.

Suppose the gorilla is a semi across the highway. You miss it because you are paying attention to the cars in front, beside, and behind you.

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Response to loyalsister (Reply #27)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 01:09 AM

40. I counted fifteen passes and saw the gorilla

I have no idea why everyone did not do so. I can't see how he was missed.

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Response to Mojorabbit (Reply #40)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 05:54 PM

58. I can count things subconsciously. I don't know why.

It gives me time to look around at other stuff, or daydream.

Maybe it's something I learned on crappy assembly line or packing jobs where I had to pay attention to a couple of things simultaneously, including counts. Maybe it's a skill I developed earlier, an aspect of my OCD. As a kid I'd often find myself counting things for no practical reason.

This kind of counting is probably a skill most people could master. Critical thinking is a skill too. The original post's point is that many people lack critical thinking skills and are easily and deliberately misdirected.


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Response to surrealAmerican (Reply #7)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 03:21 AM

47. You could turn that around

Perhaps counting the number of passes was the distraction and we missed the gorilla (or elephant) in the room.

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Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 09:08 PM

16. When this first came out

I saw the gorilla. There were others that were slightly more complicated that I missed EVERYTHING. I'm a part time magician and was watching a video of a demonstration of a trick and got roped into something they said, "If you pay attention, you'll figure it out." So I intently watched the trick, but every few seconds, something would change. For instance, the magician would give a pack of cards to a volunteer, and the camera would focus on her. Well, he was offscreen for a few seconds, the magician took off an outer shirt that was a different color than his inner one. The camera would focus on their upper bodies, and people would pull off the top tablecloth to reveal a different on. It would focus on the table, and the backdrop would change color, etc. None of these were cuts; it was one unbroken shot. It blew my mind.

TlalocW

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Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 09:18 PM

18. Watch people driving by a car accident...

... the primary task is to simply DRIVE. Just drive your damn car and mind your own business. Unfortunately, most are sucked into spectating (rubbernecking)and holding up traffic flow. Mental laziness - inability to stay on task. Wow.

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Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 09:41 PM

22. I saw the gorilla.

I don't know that my results are valid, though.

First of all, I wasn't as motivated to count the passes as I would have been for higher stakes. It's been a long day, and it doesn't really matter if I get the count correct or not.

Second, I knew the gorilla was coming. Part of my attention was on the anticipation. Who knows whether I would have noticed him if I didn't have advance information?

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Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 09:52 PM

24. This is my favorite reason

Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in
Recognizing One's Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments

Justin KRUGER, David DUNNING

Abstract
People tend to hold overly favorable views of their abilities in many social and intellectual domains. The au-thors suggest that this overestimation occurs, in part, because people who are unskilled in these domains suffer a dual burden: Not only do these people reach erroneous conclusions and make unfortunate choices, but their incompetence robs them of the metacognitive ability to realize it. Across 4 studies, the authors found that participants scoring in the bottom quartile on tests of humor, grammar, and logic grossly overes-timated their test performance and ability. Although their test scores put them in the 12th percentile, they estimated themselves to be in the 62nd. Several analyses linked this miscalibration to deficits in metacogni-tive skill, or the capacity to distinguish accuracy from error. Paradoxically, improving the skills of partici-pants, and thus increasing their metacognitive competence, helped them recognize the limitations of their abilities.

http://carmine.se.edu/cvonbergen/Unskilled%20and%20Unaware%20of%20It.pdf





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Response to XRubicon (Reply #24)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 09:56 PM

26. Everyone is the hero of their own story n/t

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #26)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 01:45 AM

42. not me

I keep trying to write in a heroine who saves the hapless Walter Mitty, but she keeps failing to appear.

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Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 09:56 PM

25. DU is full of really choice invisible replies.

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Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 10:07 PM

28. Media "balance" also got worse after the fairness doctrine was revoked

 

by Reagan. So we got the right-wing media, supported by the right-wing think tanks and other infrastructure. Now the right lives in a conceptual world so different from ours that they can't begin to understand a different viewpoint.

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Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 10:20 PM

30. I counted fourteen passes and saw the gorilla

I watched it a second time and still only saw fourteen passes.

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Response to Brother Buzz (Reply #30)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 10:22 PM

31. Congratulations, you're from Lake Wobegon



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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #31)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 10:26 PM

32. Well, all our women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above

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Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 10:33 PM

34. i interpret this as a commentary on pro sports

my Twitter, which normally carries news of interest to me, is lately cluttered with NFL tweets.

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Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 11:45 PM

37. It doesn't prove that we "miss" anything of the kind. It proves that we're programmed to be

pattern seeking chimps, and that foregrounding something is how pattern seeking chimps accomplish tasks, or we'd be Zen masters who "see" much but don't get goals met. The assignment was made. It was rigged to call the participants "missing" some area of perception. Not good science.

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Response to ancianita (Reply #37)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 11:51 PM

38. And foregrounding something leads to "missing" other things

Short of a novel new definition of missing, I think that we are, indeed, "missing" things—while having a keener view of other things.

That that there is a reason for the fact doesn't change the fact, merely explains it.

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Response to ancianita (Reply #37)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 11:51 PM

39. It wasn't intended as a scientific experiment but as a demonstration of selective inattention

We seek patterns in things other than just visually and we can be distracted in much the same way from noticing the clearly obvious by having our attention directed at some other aspect of reality.

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #39)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 02:09 AM

44. I used the game of boggle to illustrate reality

If you know how boggle is played

there is a grid of 16 letters, in a 4x4 square, and the players try to find words in it.

My point being that people will look at it, get a list of words and think that that is reality.

But what about the words they are missing?

First of all, because they did not see them, and second because they do not know the words. I deliberately hid a large word in the grid and I wonder, how often in the game, are there large words in the grid that do not get seen as people make lists of the little words? Doing a detailed search of the grid, I happened to find the word "guipure" which is a word I never would have found without an unabridged dictionary. You could probably show that grid to 10,000 people and be lucky to have one who found the word guipure in it, simply because that is not in very many people's vocabularies.

Then, too, what is seen depends on the rules of boggle. What if you changed the rules? What if it was allowed to use a letter twice? What if propoer nouns were legal?

Then also, what about languages? How many Spanish or French words were in the grid? I would not have the first clue. I might be able to find some German words, but my vocabulary even in German would be very, very limited.

And as hard as it is to see everything in a simple 16 letter grid, the real world is much, much larger and more complicated.

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Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 02:18 AM

46. Not me. I was keeping count and clearly saw the gorilla enter the scene.

I feel so special.

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Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 12:33 PM

50. Most of what we think we see and hear is a confabulation of the brain.

The brain takes sensory bits and pieces and reconstructs the sense impressions into something coherent based on our past experiences and our expectations.

A big cause of the sensory issues we autistic people have is that we have issues "editing" that sensory data.

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Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 12:40 PM

51. People do not know how to see

They are allowed to be distracted by the passing of the balls and don't allow themselves to see the anomaly.

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Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 12:58 PM

52. Interesting. Part of what's going on in this thread is the collision of two world views.

One view assumes that the world narrative that is coming to us through the dominant media channels is basically un-manipulated and un-controlled. News stories just happen and they are reported but there is no overarching agenda. "Conspiracy theories" are silly and bear no relation to anything that actually happens or will happen. The world works basically the way we were all taught in school with some minor adjustments as we age and acquire experience. Of course we don't perceive everything. That's just a natural and innocent byproduct of the way our senses work.

The other view sees patterns in what is happening. It sees the world narrative as the result of forces that are in large part invisible. Power and money are intimately related and their movement in the world is often masked or obscured to preserve privilege and the status quo. The gaps and mechanisms of our perceptual senses are manipulated deliberately and consciously to maintain social control and direct human behavior. The process is getting more insidious and effective as time goes on.

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Response to alberg (Reply #52)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 05:15 PM

56. There is a third world view that is neither.

Namely, that "real" reality is a collection of data points so vast and complex the human brain can never make sense of it without simplifying and narrowing it down. So just as the "conspiracy theorists" draw patterns from the same set of data points, so do the consensus-reality dwellers aided by the mass media (although, as FOX News indicates, different media can lead to people living un vastly different reality-tunnels. And as Alex Jones proves, conspiracy theories- no matter how ludicrous- can be packaged or mass consumption as well) ... Sort of the way people see patterns and pictures in clouds or constellations in the stars.

The mistake BOTH groups make is confusing a creation of their own brain- the "map" they're using to interpret reality- with the real reality itself. Like trying to eat the menu, instead of the meal.

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Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 04:59 PM

55. Take enough psychedelics over the course of your lifetime

And I promise, you'll see the gorilla.

http://spermphoenixfilms.tumblr.com/post/35820275965/ladies-and-gentlemen-i-present-to-you-a

Oh ho ho... youll see ALL the gorillas.

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Response to Fumesucker (Original post)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 05:19 PM

57. I have the opposite problem... The gorilla made me forget what the assignment was!

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