[ExI] contra Kahneman
avant at sollegro.com
Fri Dec 28 23:48:20 UTC 2018
Bill Wallace wrote:
> It's long but it's worth it. My question is: how can such a paper be
> written without the use of the concept of attention? Focus? I agree -
> what's out there is driven by what we expect to see. Without any ideas
> anything might be seen or not seen. Reinterpretaion of the invisible
> gorilla. bill w
I think too many many people including the original authors of the study
are over-interpreting a single experimental result. We are not blind to
the obvious, but instead we are blind to the irrelevant. More precisely,
our brains subconsciously process sensory input and only relevant details
are passed to our conscious attention.
Thus the brains of those who failed to notice the "gorilla" were
none-the-less operating up to evolutionary specs. Had they actually used a
real gorilla instead of a guy in a gorilla suit, I am pretty sure almost
everybody would have noticed it immediately.
What your brain sees is an annoying guy in a gorilla suit, possibly a
mascot for one of the basketball teams, intentionally blocking your view
of the court in order to ham it up for the camera. Your brain knows he is
no threat to you and is trying to distract you from your purpose of
counting passes or whatever. Therefore your brain ignores him as
irrelevant and does not pass the attention seeking man in a gorilla suit
on to one's conscious awareness.
With the real gorilla however, the movements and behavior would have been
distinct. It would have triggered ones "dangerous animal" neural circuitry
that would likely have succeeded in over-riding the goal-seeking behavior
of counting passes.
In other words, the experiment is not about people being blinded to the
obvious, it is instead about how the brain censors out information which
is irrelevant to an approximate hierarchy of informational importance:
survival, accomplishing immediate goals, fulfilling basic needs, and
So I guess I agree with the essay's general critique of the experiment but
for my own set of reasons.
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