Have you seen the video of the passing basketball? If not, you can see it here: selective attention test. This book, “The Invisible Gorilla“, is written by the two researchers who made the video – Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons. The book continues to explore the concepts of intuition, confidence and memory recall as it pertains to our every day lives.
The book is a fairly easy read, being lighter on the science and using a lot of experiment examples as well as real life examples. The crux of the message is that we don’t have the recall or “trusted intuition” that we think we do, and therein lies the problem, causing us to trust ourselves and others perhaps more than we should. The authors do an excellent job of demonstrating, time and again, how people fail to perceive things, and also fail to perceive their weaknesses. They show how this influences everything from our legal system to our daily driving.
“How is it possible that spending more time with the world in view actually reduces our ability to see what is right in front of us? …. The problem has to do not as much with the limits on attention – which are in effect regardless of whether the readings are displayed on the windshield or around it – as with our mistaken beliefs about attention.”
It is the backing up of their claims with real life experiments and examples taken right from the headlines that made this book come alive for me. I hope to be more aware of what I’m not aware of — it that is possible. It’s a bit of a Catch 22, but as the authors say, it has its rewards as well.
“When you think about the world with an awareness of everyday illusions, you won’t be as sure of yourself as you used to be, but you will have new insights into how your mind works, and new ways of understanding why people act the way they do.”
A fun and thought-provoking read.