Inattentional blindness for sword swallowing

Chris and I shared the 2004 Psychology Ig Nobel award for “demonstrating that when people pay close attention to something, it’s all too easy to overlook anything else — even a woman in a gorilla suit.” You can read more about our study at

Marc Abrahams, the organizer of the Ig Nobel awards, just emailed us this video from 2007 Ig Nobel winner Dan Meyer (shared with Brian Witcombe). They won the prize in medicine for their article on “sword swallowing and its side effects.” In the video, Dan Meyer swallows a sword in front of the Cavern Club, a famous pub in Liverpool where the Beatles played. Tourists apparently walked by to photograph the Cavern Club didn’t notice the person swallowing a sword in front of the entrance. You can see a couple of the oblivious tourists at the end of the video.

You can read Marc Abraham’s original post here.

Sources Cited:
Simons DJ, & Chabris CF (1999). Gorillas in our midst: sustained inattentional blindness for dynamic events. Perception, 28 (9), 1059-74 PMID: 10694957

Witcombe B, & Meyer D (2006). Sword swallowing and its side effects. BMJ (Clinical research ed.), 333 (7582), 1285-7 PMID: 17185708

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