28 July 2006

Observation Test

We often tell ourselves that we are very observant. Yet experience with witnesses has shown professional investigators and researchers that we often only see what we are concentrating on or interested in.
Here is a classic example of the phenomenon. The video is a Java applet which involves a 7mb download before it begins, so it will take some time via dial up.
When the video starts, explain to the viewer:
"There are two teams of three people, one white and one black. See if you can count how many times they pass the ball."
Once the video finishes ask, "Did you see the Gorilla?"
If they answer "Yes", follow up with, "What was the Gorilla doing?"
We had each of the four older children individually view the video. Eric and Peter replied with surprise, "What Gorilla?" and Ariel and James saw it, but didn't notice what the Gorilla did. This led to a good discussion on how accurate we are when we observe a scene.

Hat Tip: Why Homeschool

1 comment:

lilgreenshop said...

A group of us in training saw this for the first time yesterday. None of us saw the gorilla! One person did ask if someone had walked on and off the set but she said she wasn't sure.