Invisible Gorilla Tweets on 2010-07-10

  • If you listen to Wisconsin Public Radio, you can hear Chris and Dan right now on the Veronica Rueckert Show: http://www.wpr.org/rueckert/ #
  • Original study got it right and only claimed an association http://bit.ly/b9NOpE. Headline writers getting it wrong. #
  • Inaccurate headline alert http://bit.ly/aMxaPB. (good site, bad headline). No evidence 4 causal link in study… #cause #
  • Media reporting (again) that games & tv cause attention probs (re: http://bit.ly/b9NOpE). Hint: correlation ≠ causation #

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6 comments to Invisible Gorilla Tweets on 2010-07-10

  • In the research, if people don’t count the passes, they tend to notice the gorilla. That said, as long as people try to do the task, it doesn’t seem to matter too much how well they can count. People who are able to track objects moving twice as fast are no more likely to notice the unexpected object (see Simons & Jensen, 2009). There might be some individual differences in how well people can notice unexpected objects, but they don’t seem to depend critically on the ability to do the counting task (as long as people try to do it. If they don’t try, they typically notice. — Dan

  • Scott

    When I first encountered the “invisible gorilla”, I too didn’t notice it even though it is plainly there. My only defense is that I was quite intent on correctly counting the number of passes. Now too with this “monkey business illusion” I also found myself too intent on counting the passes to see the other events occur. (I did count correctly both times.) Based on the experiments does success in counting (or whatever task at hand) correlate to failure to notice in these unexpected events? Or is everyone equally as bad at not noticing the unexpected events regardless of skill in the task?

  • We actually tested that in the original experiments published in our 1999 paper. Focusing attention on the players in black did increase noticing by about 20%, but about 30% still miss the gorilla. In more simplified displays (white or black circles and squares moving around), the color of the unexpected object makes a bigger difference. People notice it when it’s consistent with the attended objects and miss it when it’s consistent with the ignored objects (see Most et al, 2001).

  • Therese Flaningam

    While watching the video I was ignoring the people with black shirts, and that the gorilla was black…..I think this could have made a difference..what if the person was wearing a white animal suit…polar bear as an example? I would be curious as to what would happen then. (I did notice the gorilla though.) But I have always questioned my ability to remember details about an event..such as when I had to be a witness in a car accident. Thanks for the interesting study..

  • Umm… I think you’re taking this a bit too literally. “Monkey business” is a slang term for mischievous or deceitful behavior. The illusion involved monkey business, not monkeys. It’s also important to note that there aren’t actually any gorillas involved either — just people in gorilla suits…

  • Christina

    I recently saw your “Invisible Gorilla” experiment posted on Yahoo!. I found it rather interesting and continued to read the article that included a “new” video to test the people who were “looking for a gorilla”. I did find one thing quite surprising about this new experiment…. the title…”The Monkey Business Illusion”. I am quite disappointed to find that someone doing research on being observant doesn’t know that gorillas are not monkeys. Gorillas are apes. There is a difference between apes and monkeys, the easiest to notice is the fact that monkeys have tails, apes do not. To make yourself more credible in the scientific world, you may want to correct this in your experiment.