Inattention Blindness

How can those people be so blind to whats going on?

Ever heard that?

Before you mock somebody, you may want to explore some psychology with me. I promise not to go into detail of the operations of the thalamus and brain activity as sensory neurons collect and are then forwarded on to the cerebral cortex.


This post is an interactive post, I hope you play along and have some fun.

We are going to try a test on attention, specifically selective attention and explore some thought on how we and others might be blind in certain areas.


Our brains only have limited cognitive bandwidth, and our brains tend to focus on what is important and filter out the extraneous noise. With the amount of information we are subjected to and the thoughts, emotions and external noises we encounter, I am amazed how we navigate our daily routines and make decisions. But humans are cool and our brains have developed the ability to focus on what is important and block out the rest of things going on around us.

*First test*

This test is performed watching a video (~1 minute in length) and is copyrighted so please go to a brilliant psychologist (Daniel Simons) youtube video, and follow instructions. Afterward come on back here to this post.

Seriously … go back, copy paste the youtube link and take the test!

*Ok how did you do?*

1. If you didn’t watch the video you failed miserably and need serious attention modification. (Failure to follow directions)

2. If you did watch the video, did you see the gorilla?

I did not see the gorilla, did I fail? No, I just have excellent focusing skills.
But now I can not watch the video again without seeing the gorilla!

If you did see the gorilla, then you have focus issues and should go see a specialist.

For the lazy and inept direction followers

For those that did not watch the video the background is here:

In 1999 2 psychologists Daniel Simons and Christopher Chabris developed an experiment. They made a video where 2 teams were passing basketballs and asking viewer to count the number of times one team (in white) passed to ball between each other. During this process a person dressed as a gorilla walks in the middle of the persons tossing the ball, beats his chest and then walks off camera.

The results were that about 50% of the viewers were so concentrated on counting the number of times the basketball was being passed, they never noticed the gorilla.

This was a phenomenon was called “Inattention Blindness”. Perception and awareness are altered where you could be looking right at something and miss an unexpected event entirely.

It is interesting you were asked to count the white jersey team instead of the black jersey teams tosses (only because the gorilla is black) just saying there might be a factor there, if an orange gorilla walked by instead of a black one who knows!

And for those that don't believe, here is the test results from a group.

****Final Thoughts

What is it that we are filtering out when making decisions?

Is that what is commonly referred to as “confirmation bias”?

Bonus section – Investment Choices

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