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This review is from: The Invisible Gorilla: And Other Ways Our Intuitions Deceive Us (Hardcover)
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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. Another illusion is we can do many things well all at once (multi-tasking); however, experiments have shown this is a false assumption.
The book's key message is that we think our mental abilities and capacities are greater than they really are. Perhaps the largest impact is in court, where witnesses think they can accurately remember an event that occurred some time ago.
I loved this book. It explains so many problems faced in a modern world where information as well as objects are hurled into our lives at breathtaking speed. What is most important is that we stop assuming our minds can process all this whirl without problems. More experiments are necessary to evaluate how our minds work. Understanding our limitations is important to achieving our full potential.
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Initial post: Mar 7, 2012 6:51:49 AM PST
Our attention is being hijacked by numerous sensory stimulants all around us. Our mind may pull us one way our senses another. So how do we make our full attention available in a relaxed way only on one subject or object of attention. Most of us are not trained to synchronize mind-body through meditative awareness of breath, habitual reactions and impulses. More stressed we are, more discursive and uncontrollable thinking and emotion becomes and all affects quality of attention. Our capacity to participate in any activity depends on our quality of attention. Wondering whether the book addresses the experiments done by neuroscientists on meditators.
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