Thursday, February 22, 2007

How To Become Invisible


I was reminded of a time back in college when a friend and I tested the theory that people do not look up as they walk around: We climbed up into a tree (not very high--about 10 feet) in an area of fairly heavy foot traffic, and waited to see if anyone saw us. And, as it turned out, no one did.
Do we only see what we expect to see?

9 comments:

becky said...

Oh, what a COOL experiment! There's some experimental data that backs up your assertion, as well. If people see a picture of a garage, it takes them a LONG-ASS time to process a toilet in the garage (something they're not expecting) than it takes to process something like a lawnmower (something they're expecting). But they remember the toilet better afterwards cuz it's salient to them. So, if someone had looked up and seen you guys in that there tree, they'd've NEVER forgotten about it!

Kenny P. said...

I win!

sharon spotbottom said...

Becky said it (man)! I've heard of an experiemnt where a video of American life was projected for some secluded native folks lie in New Guniea (i forget the time frame). Anyway, they claimed to have seen nothing except a chicken!! The only thing they had some prior awarenss of in their day to tday life. cool!
(disclaimer: poor memory and the aforementioned condition of expectation may affect summary of story).
Now on to Castenada and Don Juan's creeepy stories about sticks not being sticks (they might be snakes!!)
ok, enough. Back to my experiment about smiling in line at the post office. invisible i tell ya!

becky said...

Cool! I liked the story about the chicken!!!! I've heard of aboriginal folks who were hanging out and there were these giant ships out in the water, and they didn't see them (cuz they'd never seen anything like that before), but then the shaman saw them. Something like that. The chicken story is really cool, though!

sharon spotbottom said...

Oh yes, i've heard about the boat story too but with native americans. great stuff.
read about the chicken story in this cool
book:
http://www.amazon.com/Holographic-Universe-Michael-Talbot/dp/0060922583/sr=1-2/qid=1172199079/ref=pd_bbs_2/103-8536751-2715033?ie=UTF8&s=books

Vincent Waller said...

Let me tell you, I for one always scan the trees for Ninjas.

d_orlando said...

Tarzan was way ahead of everyone on this theory!

Anonymous said...

"The errors that optical illusions induce in our perceptions are lawful, regular, and systematic. They are not dumb mistakes but smart mistakes—mistakes that allow those who understand them to glimpse the elegant design and inner workings of the visual system."

http://www.randomhouse.com/kvpa/gilbert/excerpts.html

becky said...

Hey Sharon,
Thanks for the link to the book; I'm totallllly going to check that out!