Oct 02 2012

More Inattentional Blindness

You are currently browsing comments. If you would like to return to the full story, you can read the full entry here: “More Inattentional Blindness”.


17 responses so far

17 Responses to “More Inattentional Blindness”

  1. Banana101on 02 Oct 2012 at 9:10 am

    During one of the recent SGTTU’s podcast, I had wondered why no one brought this video when everyone was discussing humans/attention spans and multi-tasking!

    Totally a tangent, but I believe it was the same podcast (or around that time anyways) that questioned the “Hearing Voices” network. You were spot on: It’s totally steeped in anti-psychiatry and anti-medicine. Regardless of which group (I think the podcast mentioned the one out of Australia), they are all steeped in quackery. If you visit their blogs, you’ll see mostly see “Big Pharma” hatred, and news stories about how X medication caused a person to commit a crime. Definite mental illness denialists. I agree, if an MI is not causing one problems, it’s not technically an MI, more or less. But it’s a bit of a stretch to claim such things, in my opinion. They all seem to be die-hard Dr. Szasz and/or Dr. Peter Breggin fans as well –Scientology’s CCHR co-founders. I run a blog which often discredits Breggin (and his cronies). They’re the new charlatans, and all of these groups think you can manage MI’s with *their* books, supplements, what have you. They are also also affiliated in one way or another. How this happened, well, I’m still searching for. Their methods? Reckless at the very least.

    I just wanted to fill you in. Great blog and podcast–keep up the awesome work!

  2. Ori Vandewalleon 02 Oct 2012 at 9:25 am

    I totally support the idea of self-driving cars, but I believe their widespread implementation is far off. The problem is that while accidents due to human error happen all the time, we don’t tend to think this is all that big a deal. If we implement self-driving cars, however, and there is a fatal accident that can be traced back to the self-driving bits, there will be a giant backlash against the idea of these cars even if, statistically speaking, they’re safer than human drivers.

  3. Steven Novellaon 02 Oct 2012 at 9:52 am

    That is why I think we will go through a period of computer assisted driving. There will still be a human behind the wheel, but a computer driver will help avoid accidents and can take over completely if necessary (a driver falls asleep, for example). This will probably dramatically decrease highway fatalities, which will go a long way toward public acceptance.

  4. superdaveon 02 Oct 2012 at 10:37 am

    Prediction: Computer assisted driving will be seen as important to saving lives as handwashing was in the early 20th century.

  5. Mr_Hunnicutton 02 Oct 2012 at 11:50 am

    I think another hurdle will be ironing out the liability when there is an accident. Who is at fault? What kind of maintenance will these systems require to keep them safe and how does that factor in the cost/benefit analysis?
    Perhaps we might first see this technology implemented in buses or taxis, where there is already a dedicated support staff in place to address such issues.

  6. Krison 02 Oct 2012 at 12:27 pm

    This is why I get upset when people suggest listing to audio books while driving. The evidence is pretty clear on how dangerous having a phone conversation while driving can be. In my experience, the attention required to follow an audio book where you’re often required to visualize complex scenes and consider complex emotional states of multiple characters utterly dwarfs the attention required to follow a phone call.

    This study seems to back up that impression, and it makes me wish all the more that people would discourage rather than encourage listening to audio books while driving until we have definitive evidence.

  7. Fred Cunninghamon 02 Oct 2012 at 12:58 pm

    The first steps are already in the market place. Auto parking, blind spot warnings, collision avoidance, electronic stability control, and lane drifting alerts. The trick is to get them in a car I can afford.

  8. ferrousbuelleron 02 Oct 2012 at 1:06 pm

    I definitely noticed the gorilla, and I counted the correct number of passes, 16 (the people who made the video missed one near the end). I’ll be sure to present this evidence of my multitasking aptitude to the police officer next time I get pulled over for texting while driving. Thanks, Dr. Novella!

  9. ferrousbuelleron 02 Oct 2012 at 1:10 pm

    Upon closer inspection, I made the mistake. There are only 15 passes. What looks like a quick give-and-go near the end is actually the tall guy stealing a pass from the girl. Poor sportsmanship, if you ask me.

  10. ConspicuousCarlon 02 Oct 2012 at 1:51 pm


    But do you notice which card changes color in this video?


  11. MikeBon 02 Oct 2012 at 2:37 pm

    I use the inattentional blindness material to teach new writing students about the necessity of establishing reading periods without distractions: too many students think they are reading when they are simply skimming because their ipods are attached to their heads and their roommate is chatting on the cellphone.

    But the basketball/gorilla video is so notorious that it doesn’t work anymore: many people have already heard of it. Are there other new, unexpected video tests out there?

  12. SARAon 02 Oct 2012 at 8:42 pm

    #Kris – I agree with you on the audio book thing. I listened to an audio book on a 13 hour trip. And I was unaware of anything during entire 100 mile stretches but what happened in the book. And while that kind of thing happens without the book, it’s not usually quite that dramatic a time frame.

    I also found that when I hit cities I had to turn it off or I would miss all my exits and become a dangerous driver.

    It is a great way to pass time on a long trip, but I in the end the importance of safety should outweigh the convenience of passing time.

  13. Kerry Maxwellon 02 Oct 2012 at 9:56 pm

    How are audio books any different than listening to the radio, which have been standard equipment on cars for half a century? I get just as absorbed in a given episode of This American Life as any audio book.

    This morning, as I was making a left turn off a major street onto a side street, a driver was pulling out of said side street into main street devoting full attention to gazing into their iPhone. Maybe not too stupid to breathe, but definitely too inattentive to drive. Forget computer controlled cars, how about a court orders this person to take public transportation?

  14. ccbowerson 02 Oct 2012 at 10:41 pm

    “This is why I get upset when people suggest listing to audio books while driving. The evidence is pretty clear on how dangerous having a phone conversation while driving can be. In my experience, the attention required to follow an audio book where you’re often required to visualize complex scenes and consider complex emotional states of multiple characters utterly dwarfs the attention required to follow a phone call.”

    There is no doubt that cell phones are not unique in their ability to divert attention from driving, but I still think that a phone conversation is unlike other examples (e.g. radio, ebooks, w/in car conversations, billboards, etc.) in the amount of attention they require.

    If I am speaking to a person on a cell phone, I am much more compelled to maintain my attention to that person since I am aware that the other person requires certain cues to communicate that I am listening, and I am aware that they cannot see my face or the road for cues on why I am not responding. It also doesn’t help that the voice quality of cell phones is pretty poor (relative to a corded phone- I know, whats that? or close conversation), which makes extra concentration necessary.

    When the communication is one-way (like the radio, podcast, or ebook) I do not feel as compelled to maintain attention to that, since I know it is not relying on me in any way. With an ebook or podcast, you don’t even have to worry about missing anything since you can rewind. Of course, ideally everyone would be driving with vigilance and no distractions, but if you are driving for several hours on a highway your mind will divert its attention with daydreaming which I am not sure is much better

  15. BillyJoe7on 03 Oct 2012 at 8:06 am


    Then you missed a truly mind blowing experience. ;)

  16. locutusbrgon 03 Oct 2012 at 9:03 am

    I think we use the same software for records.

  17. Jared Olsenon 06 Oct 2012 at 3:36 am

    Steve, I’m sure you’re not suggesting we refrain from listening to, say, the SGU while driving??!

    “It’s almost as if the system were designed to be a psychological experiment in which processing load and interference were maximized.”

    -How do you know it’s not? ;-)

Trackback URI | Comments RSS

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.