December 14, 2009

"Here's proof that most of the time we look but don't see."

Change blindness.


And  speaking of not seeing, could somebody please win the oranges-in-a-bowl contest already?


traditionalguy said...

A very scary part of witness testimony is the certainty with which an incorrect witness sticks to their story. The problem is the lazy use of auto-fill feature of our memories. But in a new environment, the street smart survivor types never miss a detail. Brains are tools that some use, and others let use them.

Bissage said...

And yet Mrs. Bissage has noticed the difference every single time I ended up knocking at the wrong door.

Go figure.

Lem said...

I’ve read somewhere that “eyewitness” accounts of an event used to be the gold standard of testimony in courts of law. But as forensic science has progressed it has become preferable for many prosecutors over so called “eyewitness” testimony.

Unless forewarned, when it comes to detail the eyes do not have it.

Jason (the commenter) said...

I would notice if one hot guy was replaced by another hot guy.

JohnAnnArbor said...

It's brain processing power being rationed out, since there's no way to process ALL sensory data coming in ALL the time. The mind--rightfully or wrongfully--fills in gaps, passes along only certain details, etc. It isn't (necessarily) a lack of concentration that's the problem.

Automatic_Wing said...

That's why no one noticed when Dick York repleced Dick Sargent on Bewitched. Or was it the other way around?

blake said...

I still can't tell the difference between Sergeant and York, unless I have a picture of both up.

Not by looks, anyway.

Chemistry? Yeah.

miller said...


Wait. Wrong thread. I guess I wasn't paying attention.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

My husband is very good at noticing the changes in films and shows that we are watching. With the DVR we can go back and check and everytime he is right.

The girl's hair will be behind her ear and then in front in the same scene.

A glass half full and then full again.....are they spitting the wine backi into the glass??

The bullet bandelero has 3 bullets, then 5, then three again.

The guy chopping tomatoes has 2 on the board, then 5 then one, then 3.....are the tomatoes multiplying?

The shirt is wrinkled and then ironed in the same scene.

To me, it is completely amazing and hilarious that he can do this because I would never notice until it was drawn to my attention. It has to be something monumentally screwed up for me to notice....

And we go back and look and YUP....he's right again.

CCMCornell said...

Interesting, but when I first saw the post I thought it was going to link to something that blamed any criticism of the lack of recently promised change on some flaw in the critic.

Rob said...

ehh. Nobody notices because nobody cares.

I wonder what would happen if the first guy punched the subject in the face and then was replaced by the other guy?

I'll tell you if they were girls behind the counter I would know.

Not too much worried about eyewitness testimony. Seeing somebody get killed is different from some nondescript guy asking me to sign a paper.

Penny said...

This has me thinking about the Talking Heads, and NO, not all the talking heads we see coming at us on TV and the internet. I mean THE Talking Heads.

"And you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack
And you may find yourself in another part of the world
And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile
And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful
And you may ask yourself-Well...How did I get here?"

See what I mean?

No? Hm....

Penny said...

Maybe this will help...

"And you may ask yourself
How do I work this?
And you may ask yourself
Where is that large automobile?
And you may tell yourself
This is not my beautiful house!
And you may tell yourself
This is not my beautiful wife!"

Lem said...

In the looking but not seeing department..

Tigers wife never 'saw' anything revealing Tigers predilections?

Penny said...

You really should read all the lyrics.

But if you still don't get the connection, I will paraphrase the guy in the video when he says something like...

"Don't feel bad. Three quarters of you didn't have a clue!"

Whew! Hell, there for a sec I thought I was the ONLY clueless person.

I feel so much better now. Don't you?

Ricardo said...

A lot of people didn't see that Elin wasn't wearing a ring when she left the house today, until one photographer finally snapped a picture of the (ringless) hand.

vbspurs said...

A lot of people didn't see that Elin wasn't wearing a ring when she left the house today, until one photographer finally snapped a picture of the (ringless) hand.

Yikes, so we've come to this -- defining our news coverage on whether Elin Woods is wearing her wedding band or not.

You know, I'm now getting this weird Princess Diana vibe about the situation. Pretty, rather vacuous and long-suffering airhead blonde sticks around intolerable situation for the sake of the kids, as her philandering husband's most intimate doings get publically flogged to the highest bidder.

At least Tiger doesn't want to be a tampon.

Penny said...

" photographer finally snapped a picture of the (ringless) hand."

The latest news, Ricardo...

"When asked directly about her ringless hand, Elin explained that she had most likely lost it while counting a bowl of nuts."

The press and paparazzi are pursuing this lead.

Ricardo said...

I wonder how many nuts were in the bowl ....

Penny said...

Well, there's you and me so far.

I guess everyone else is tired out from counting the oranges.

David said...

Bush. Obama.

Methadras said...

"What's interesting about this experiment is that some people notice these changes and other people don't notice these changes."

Really? Fuck, had me stunned there for a second, slick.

William said...

If I were wanted for murder and my face was on the cover of every paper in America, I would take a job selling subway tokens. Customers pay attention to the transaction and not to the clerk who processes the transaction. Some jobs are like a cloak of invisibility. If you do your job expeditiously, no one notices you......The two girls that they show who noticed the switch had probably noted the boy as a cute boy and not as a form dispenser.

The Crack Emcee said...

I've worked on a number of films and I'm almost always recruited to be the continuation guy because I remember where shit was, or who was standing where, etc.

Most people are morons; not because they miss this shit but because - instead of learning how to become critical thinkers - they'd only rather get better at being morons.

Notice what's going on in the world around you? No way!

Follow whatever Oprah's pumping this week? Take a pole dancing class? Spend your time doing yoga? But of course!

The Crack Emcee said...

Methadras - 10:48 PM,


AllenS said...

Ok, I just watched it. The straight men didn't notice anything, because they could care less about other men. The women caught on that the men had changed, because they were looking to score. It's really that simple. I'm better at this, than guessing the number of oranges in a bowl.

WV: dectica

AllenS said...


Largo said...

Yesterday upon the stair
I met a man who wasn’t there
He wasn’t there again today
Oh, how I wish he’d go away
-- "Antigonish"

Robert Cook said...

"I’ve read somewhere that 'eyewitness' accounts of an event used to be the gold standard of testimony in courts of law. But as forensic science has progressed it has become preferable for many prosecutors over so called 'eyewitness' testimony."

Recent opinion is that eye-witness testimony is the least reliable evidence that can be presented at trial. I saw an episode of PBS' FRONTLINE a few years back exploring cases of convicted criminals being exonerated due to improved DNA analysis, and one woman who was raped and was as close as one can be to another person insisted upon the guilt of the man who had been convicted for the crime...even after he was exonerated and released because the DNA analysis showed he could not have been the perpetrator.

My father always told us about a college class he had where in the middle of a lecture one day the door was violently pulled open, a man rushed into the room, a brief disturbance was created, and then the man fled the scene. After all had been settled down, the instructor asked the class to write detailed descriptions of what they had witnessed. As you can surmise, the accounts varied tremendously, with details often being drastically different from one person to another: descriptions of the man, what he said, what he did, how the sequence of events unfolded, what he was wearing, what he looked like, etc. were as different as if numerous different versions of the event had taken place.

In many years of doing life drawing, I have seen many people make drawings depicting the models to be standing nearly upright when, in fact, the models were bent over or in some way or other not standing upright at all. They were not drawing what they were looking at; they were drawing their mental picture of either "a man" or "a woman" in front of them, but whom, in fact, they did not really see.

As others here have noted, we don't have time to intently study all that we see around us; we learn to see very generally what is around us in order to more efficiently negotiate our way through the thicket of reality.We see what we expect to see; we see what our experience has shaped us to see; we glance and think we have stared; we fill in the blanks left in our minds by the the incomplete data we process.

Joe said...

A friend of my wife was in a hospital yesterday and someone stole her purse from right next to her. Crazy thing is the woman's daughter remembered a woman who had passed and gave an almost exact description, which was verified on the video and the woman was [re]arrested within six hours (she was a parolee.)

I'm one of those who can't even remember what color eyes people have or even their hair color unless it was garish. I can't count the times I was at a store with my kids when they were younger and suddenly realized that I don't remember what they were wearing.