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When you’re looking for something else, you miss a lot. That’s the idea behind the psychological phenomenon of “inattentional blindness.” From an abstract listed on iPerception:
Inattentional blindness—the failure to see visible and otherwise salient events when one is paying attention to something else—has been proposed as an explanation for various real-world events. In one such event, a Boston police officer chasing a suspect ran past a brutal assault and was prosecuted for perjury when he claimed not to have seen it. However, there have been no experimental studies of inattentional blindness in real-world conditions. We simulated the Boston incident by having subjects run after a confederate along a route near which three other confederates staged a fight. At night only 35% of subjects noticed the fight; during the day 56% noticed. We manipulated the attentional load on the subjects and found that increasing the load significantly decreased noticing. These results provide evidence that inattentional blindness can occur during real-world situations, including the Boston case.
So when we’re focused on one thing, we tend to miss other things. For instance, when the Obama administration is focused on stimulus spending and disrupting the health care system, they’re missing this:
On the other hand, maybe the American voter is suffering from inattentional blindness. They’re focusing so hard on finding a job they’re missing the good news that’s out there.
There is good news, isn’t there?Published in