Feb 26 2012

Hidden in Plain View


Our senses are constantly processing sights, sounds, smells and touch. Most of these do not reach our consciousness. We only become aware of some of the inputs that pass through our brain.

How do we decide what to pay attention to?

On Feb 17th this year, psychologist Ulric Neisser passed away. He worked in the areas of cognition and memory, and was famous for his experiments on Inattentional Blindness – why don’t we notice things that are in plain view?

In his blog posting “How to Live Forever“, Richard Wiseman directs us to these videos,

Dan Simons made a famous ‘cover’ of Neisser’s original  experiment in 1999

This is the original 1975 version/

In focusing on the basketballers, did you miss the ‘out of the ordinary’ things in these videos?

Wiseman writes

“And that’s what great about science. Your work doesn’t die with you, but instead leaves a lasting legacy for future generations. In many ways, you live forever. Ulric, your work showed that people often don’t see what is right in front of their eyes. We shall miss you too.”


What I Learnt On 26th February in other years

26th February 2011 BoxWorldBoxWorld

One Response to “Hidden in Plain View”

  1. Alastair says:

    I have used this in my intelligence courses for the past 5 years to explain that sometimes we miss the bleeding obvious even when it is right there in front of you.

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