summary - 'invisible gorillas' in your life

Thank you to everyone who submitted a comment or sent me email describing your own ‘invisible gorilla’ experiences. In addition to the many great comments on original post, many people emailed me their personal examples of in which they misperceived or misremembered the world around them. A few of you also sent in suggestions of ways that other people might have succumbed to everyday illusions. Those are great too. I’ve posted a few of the emailed examples below (with permission). Please keep sending in your examples!

As promised, I have randomly selected one submitter to receive a free copy of the Audio CD version of the Invisible Gorilla, and the winner is … drumroll … Jeremy. [DAN: I will contact you directly, Jeremy]. We’ll have more giveaways in the near future.

A few examples of ‘invisible gorillas’ I’ve gotten by email:

  • From Cathleen Moore: I have a funny story to tell you! I was driving to a Dr.’s appointment during the day a few weeks ago and you were on Science Friday with Ira Flato. That was cool enough. But I was intently listening to how you guys talk about this stuff…and driving…and I totally missed my turn! Isn’t that awesome?! I can’t even drive and listen to the radio at the same time!
  • From Tom Rhoads: I failed to notice an invisible gorilla late last week on my way home from work. I live in Vermont and have a beautiful drive through farm country on winding country roads. There is about a one mile straight stretch during the drive and everyone drives a little over the 50 mph limit there. I was driving along on my way home on that stretch with a car with an out of state license well ahead of me and driving faster that I was. The leaves have started to change here, and on that night there was a very impressive rainbow clearly visible behind the trees. There was no room to pull over, so the car in front of me stopped dead in the road, probably to get some great photographs. I had plenty of time to stop, but I didn’t even notice that I was closing on the car until I got right behind it. I still don’t know how I missed it, but I had to swerve into the left lane and barely made it around without going off the road or hitting the other car. Luckily there were no cars coming the other way so once I got around the other car my drive was uneventful the rest of the way home. I still have no idea how I missed seeing the car in front of me. I might have been thinking about work or about how lucky I am to live is such a lovely place. I’m just glad I was able to act quickly and glad I was lucky.
  • Anonymous: I thought of you as we passed a sign urging drivers to “Report impaired driving. Dial 911 on your cellular phone.” [EDITOR: I wonder if you would then need to call 911 to report yourself for calling 911 while driving...]
  • From Julie: My “invisible gorillas” often pop up when I’m walking around with friends. Every few minutes, someone will point out an attractive girl (or guy), an interesting outfit, or some other fact that they considered remarkable… and I’ll have completely missed it. Every time. I don’t know whether they’ve just got a wider attentive span than I do, or if I’m just focusing too much on maintaining my conversation with them, or what, but it seems that I’m constantly out of the loop when it comes to interesting social phenomena.

6 comments to summary – ‘invisible gorillas’ in your life

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