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The Invisible Gorilla: And Other Ways Our Intuition Deceives Us Hardcover – June 10, 2010

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Hardcover, June 10, 2010
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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (June 10, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007317298
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007317295
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (240 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,583,429 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

190 of 199 people found the following review helpful By Alan Dale Daniel on April 12, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The Invisible Gorilla is an unusual name for an unusual book. The authors Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons have assembled a evidence of six illusions that impact our lives in significant ways. Chapter One deals with the illusion of attention, that is, the illusion that we see or observe far more than we think. Several experiments have proven that even obvious things are easily missed by people. Up to fifty percent of testers failed to see a fake gorilla enter a basketball game where the testers were counting the number of ball passes rather than looking for gorillas. It is from this experiment that the book gets its name.

Most think that such a gorilla would be easily noticed; however, various experiments have shown this is not the case. This lack of ability to see objects that are not expected may explain why cars pull out in front of motorcycles, as it is theorized that people driving cars do not expect to see motorcycles and thus they do not. Cell phone users also miss obvious objects while they are driving. It seems cell phone users that are driving suffer from a reduction in awareness, but they are not aware of it. Thus the illusion that they are as fully aware while talking on the phone as they are when the phone is not in use. The Invisible Gorilla points out how this attention illusion can have real and sometimes harsh results in the real world.

Then the book goes on to describe five other illusions: the illusion of memory, the illusion of knowledge and confidence, the illusion that in a series of events, event one causes event two, and the illusion that certain mythical processes - such as hypnotism - can help one reach their full potential.
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87 of 93 people found the following review helpful By jhl VINE VOICE on March 27, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
No matter how carefully you think about what you're doing, no matter how realistic your view of the world seems to be, you're apparently fooling yourself. According to psychologists Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons, our brains are hardwired to edit our perceptions and memories, to misinterpret evidence and jump to conclusions. They outline a variety of illusions the human mind falls prey to, some of which make intuitive (uh-oh - the goal of the book is to prove the unreliability of intuition) sense, including the fact that our brains edit information coming from our senses (we can all understand that if we noticed everything happening around us we could pay attention to none of it) and overconfidence (surprise! People who don't know very much about a subject overestimate how much they understand - I have some colleagues I'd like to hand that chapter to). Others were more startling - that in general people tend to believe the first "evidence" of a fact they receive, especially when it's presented emotionally, and they resist later evidence to the contrary, no matter how convincing (so it's not just those idiots from the other end of the political spectrum who do that!).

The Invisible Gorilla presents a lot of illuminating information that is well worth reading - it's both interesting and enlightening. I guess popular psychology books are expected to propose a solution to the problems they outline, so the final chapter offers somewhat less compelling suggestions for avoiding your brain's false intuitions. While on the one hand I was glad to discover that I'm a normal human, not an inattentive dummy (which is what I feel like when I'm driving, and I don't even own a cell phone!), on the other I was sorry to learn that there's not a whole lot of hope for change, barring a life of hyper-vigilance.
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44 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Currie-Knight VINE VOICE on June 3, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Lately, there has been a plethora of books trying to popularize the more interesting and counter-intuitive results from fields like behavioral psychology. All of those books, as far as I'm aware, mention a particularly famous study where participants are asked to view a video of basketball players and asked to count the number of passes. As odd as it sounds, about half of the participants fail to notice the "invisible gorilla" - a man dressed like a gorilla strolling from one side of the court to the other.

These two authors are the inventors of that and subsequent experiments. In other words, these authors are very knowledgeable about their field because, in a sense, they invented one of its primary experiments.

What is their focus in this book? Well, it is not so much that people didn't notice the "invisible gorilla" that surprised them, but the adamance with which participants denied that they could have missed something so obvious. Many disbelieved that there was actually a gorilla in the tape they were shown, accusing he researchers of playing a trick on them. So, the authors' mission in this book is to explore the human tendency toward overconfidence in their abilities.

Each chapter focuses on a different "illusion" that comes from the human tendency to (very subconsciously) overestimate our ability. They are as follows:

Chapter 1 - Illusion of Attention, or, the belief that we are attentive to much more than we actually are at any given moment.
Chapter 2 - Illusion of Memory, or, the illusion that our memories are much more exact than they are.
Chapter 3 - Illusion of Confidence, or, the illusion that confidence (in others) is a good sign of competence.
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