Practical Advice from ‘The Invisible Gorilla’ by Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons (An Actionable Books summary)

“We experience far less of our visual world than we think we do.”

The Invisible Gorilla page 7

Imagine watching a video of two basketball teams dribbling and passing the ball. You count the passes of the white-shirted team to each other. You’re focused, but certainly not oblivious.

Just in case you haven’t seen this yet, stop right now and watch this video. Pay attention to the instructions. Then continue reading.

Watch the video before you continue reading!

Did you see it? Half — half — of the people who watch the video don’t see it.

This is not an “illusion” in the sense we’re used to. No tricks, no editing. The illusion is that we think we experience the world around us fully.

Truth is, we just might be missing more than we experience, just as you may have missed the gorilla in that video.

Rather than a theoretical manifesto, Chabris and Simons share solid research to alert us to six places we all think we’re experiencing more of our world than is true:

1. attention: how much of our environment we experience
2. memory: not only can we forget, we can remember things that never happened
2. confidence: greater confidence is linked to less ability, not more
4. knowledge: our knowledge of most things is seriously superficial
5. cause: we see causation far more often than the evidence warrants
6. potential: belief in shortcuts to expand our brain’s abilities

The primary example of the book relates to the invisible gorilla and our ability to pay attention. GEM #2 will explore how we see cause and effect even when it’s not there.

Here’s what you’ll learn:

  • Seeing Often Isn’t
  • Attention is a Zero-Sum Game
  • Cause

Read my summary of The Invisible Gorilla at Actionable Books.

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