Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The wisdom of crowds.

Recently I came across an experiment conducted by University of Illinois psychology professor Daniel J. Simons. Here are the rudiments of the experiment. There are two teams, a white one and a black one. The teams pass basketballs only to team-members and you, the viewer, are asked to count how many passes the white team completes.

Despite watching the video acutely for its full 25-second length, most people--a large majority of people fail to see what's really occurred during that time period.

This experiment is an example of "sustained inattentional blindness." That means, in English, that when we sometimes focus on the tiny, we lose sight of the larger picture.

I think this is what happens in so much advertising research. Respondents are led to look at little things and miss what might really be happening. Which is why so much is absolute crap.


Tore Claesson said...

I saw the bear, couldn't keep the eye on the ball...maybe that is why I keep missing the passes...

Unknown said...

Michael Tarr at Brown University did something similar using a Gorilla.

It was fascinating. For really fun times, try Diana Deutsch's Audio Illusions.