Pay Attention!

Stop what you’re doing and take this test, I’ll wait.

So, how’d you do? Even if you knew about the “invisible gorilla” (famous from a similar test on focus and attention from a decade ago), did you catch the other oddities? Or do you have inattentional blindness? “A lot of people seem to take the message of our original gorilla study to be that people don’t pay enough attention to what is happening around them, and that by paying more attention and ‘expecting the unexpected,’ we will be able to notice anything important,” says psychologist Daniel Simons, co-author of both studies. “The new experiment shows that even when people know that they are doing a task in which an unexpected thing might happen, that doesn’t suddenly help them notice other unexpected things.” Fair enough. Next time I spot an invisible gorilla I am totally going to remind myself that other things may be happening as well.