19 April 2012

"Inattentional blindness"


It's a special type of "blindness" that 's explained below the fold.  First, look at the picture and count the number of red circles you see.

Are there five red balls - or six?

Now - look away from the photo and describe to someone exactly what you saw.  Most people fail at this.


What you saw (in addition to the five red balls) was "a real photo of the hands of Cuban man Yoandri Hernandez Garrido, who has polydactyly, which means he has extra digits on his hands (he also has an extra toe on each foot.)... This is called "inattentional blindness", where we can't see what's right in front of us because we're not paying attention to it."

Found at Deceptology.

14 comments:

  1. YAY me ~ I noticed the hands!! The 'hint' about there maybe being 6 red balls is a red herring ~

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  2. Thing is with hands, even single finger amputees hands (if they are done well and long healed) look normal. And especially in person, it's kind of rude to count fingers. I had to do a second take on a woman born with only four fingers, mostly because I had to check which finger we were doing surgery on that morning. Which might also be why so many cartoon characters only have 4 fingers -easier to draw and most people don't notice anyway.

    I did notice the six fingers, but then I also noticed the gorilla among the basketball players in a film designed to illustrate the same basic point. Some of us just have nasty suspicious minds.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJG698U2Mvo

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  3. I'm not sure what these things are really designed to illustrate. As with the gorilla on the basketball court, we are specifically asked to pay attention to one thing and then told we fail a test because we were successfully able to ignore a distraction. I saw the gorilla in the film when I first saw that but it was just a distraction.

    Now, if the test were to see what you noticed that was interesting or unusual, that would be different. But we're not. Seems odd to me that doing what's asked, even if you're aware that the design of the test is trying to distract you.

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    Replies
    1. Overlooking things like that is a very real problem, though. My husband has been dealing with back pain recently. The doctor took an x-ray looking for herniated disks, and came up empty. My husband later showed the same x-ray to a chiropractor, who looked at it and said "Huh, you've got an extra set of ribs. Also, the lowest vertebra is missing the flares that the muscles usually anchor to. No wonder it hurts."

      Two doctors, same problem, same image. But one of them completely missed the obvious answer because he went in with a preconceived idea of what he was looking for. It's a very easy mistake.

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  4. That's a great one!

    Prof. Simons at the U. of Illinois is a leading light in this field: http://www.simonslab.com/index.html

    Here's a bunch of his video experiments: http://www.youtube.com/profsimons

    Zak

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    Replies
    1. I've seen the gorilla before, but the others were new to me. Thanks, Zak.

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  5. He should take up the guitar, he would be amazing!

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    Replies
    1. Jerry Garcia did okay missing a finger...

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    2. Django Reinhardt did okay missing (the use of) two, and on his fret hand at that, unlike Garcia.

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  6. You'd be surprised how many people are unable to describe any simple image they just looked at. I learned this from a friend who studied art history. They had to write long papers describing pieces of art and she told me it was often very hard to actually describe what's in a simple image.

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  7. I love the things you post about the complexities of the human mind - thanks Stan!

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  8. I knew a girl named Patsy who had an extra pinky on her left hand. She hung out a lot with my Uncle Donnie who had webbed feet. Because of Patsy's anomaly, she was quite popular with the younger girls in the neighborhood - a housing project where the houses were connected to each other in rows. Patsy would sit on her front steps with us and tell us weird stories about her extra pinky and what she could do with it. Once I knocked up for her to come out and play hopscotch. She said she wasn't allowed out until she did the dinner dishes, and she suggested I come in and help her so we could get on with our hopscotch. There was a ton of dishes and pots and pans. She "let" me do the scrubbing while she dried. When the job was finished she said, "Sorry, I was only joking about playing hopscotch." Another time I told her I had a sore throat. She said, "Open your mouth real wide and let me see." I did, and she spit in it.

    Is this relevant? To me, yes. Does it mean that people with extra digits are cunning tricksters? Of course not. But Patsy was.

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    Replies
    1. Did she grow up to become a politician?

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  9. That's kind of funny because as soon as I looked at the photo, I was so distracted by his hands with the extra digits that I didn't count the red dots at first. I chuckled and thought it was 'tricky' that you'd put some sort of eye trick to do with having problems seeing red dots over a photo of a man with extra digits. I then counted the dots (a few times to make sure I wasn't missing something) and once I went into the article and saw that the whole point was about the hands, I just shook my head.. and then wondered if I was still missing something with the dots LOL

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