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This explains so much.
November 14, 2004 11:02 AM   Subscribe

Truly mind blowing! First, you must follow the rules. Watch this short video. You are only allowed to watch it once. Seriously, do not cheat! In the video you will see a group of basketball players, some in white and some in black passing two balls around. Your goal is to count how many times the ball is passed by those wearing white shirts. It’s that simple. Remember, count just the passes of the ball by those wearing white. Once the movie is over, write down the number of passes you have counted, Do not watch the video again-- proceed to step two. (via)
posted by limitedpie (131 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
I saw this at the California ScienCenter last month. Very amusing.
posted by dogwelder at 11:06 AM on November 14, 2004


Fucking hell. We humans just aren't very good at stuff, are we?
posted by Pretty_Generic at 11:11 AM on November 14, 2004


Well done. You know what? I don't really believe you. But who knows? Maybe you are really gifted viewers

Hah! Take that!
posted by iamck at 11:16 AM on November 14, 2004


weird, I knew what kind of experiment this was and still proved them right.
posted by Grod at 11:17 AM on November 14, 2004


There's just no way of discussing this without spoiling it, so:

There be spoilers under this line. Look at the video before reading the discussion here.









Pretty_Generic: Not good? We're wonderful at this stuff, we managed to ignore all distractions and only look at what was important to us at the time.

iamck: But did you get the correct number of passes?
posted by fvw at 11:18 AM on November 14, 2004


SPOILER
________________________________________-






fvw: I did, and during the video I noticed something black walk by, and I thought it was someone in a gorilla suit or a ninja. I didn't, however, notice that he walked through the middle of the screen...
posted by iamck at 11:20 AM on November 14, 2004


We humans just aren't very good at stuff, are we?

Well, we're good at creating situations in which misdirection is critical. "Look. Something shiny over there." (I'm kinda joking, but also thinking about the percentage of Americans who still believe that Saddam had WMDs and was in cahoots with Al Qaeda.)

This example really shows how difficult it can be to evaluate eye-witness testimony. Cool.
posted by 327.ca at 11:22 AM on November 14, 2004


I had no trouble with it, though I think playing video games all the time helps with keeping track of a bunch of various things on screen.
posted by bobo123 at 11:26 AM on November 14, 2004


I saw the animal! I counted 15 passes. I wonder if maybe the video was slow, or it's that I've trained my subconscious mind to actively seek out that which doesn't fit with patterns. Maybe I should be a sniper.

Maybe I should switch to decaf.
posted by swerdloff at 11:26 AM on November 14, 2004


I only counted 14. Oh well, my eye was drawn to the suit briefly, but I fought it and kept counting. Maybe that is where I lost count
posted by jmgorman at 11:29 AM on November 14, 2004


I saw it too. The whole time I was wondering what the trick was because it was pretty easy to count the passes. In it's defense, I didn't notice it until around 2/3s through...
posted by imaswinger at 11:31 AM on November 14, 2004


Weird. I was busy counting the passes (I got 12) and at one point the ball went over what looked like a person in a gorilla suit.

I showed the video to two other people and they didn't see the gorilla at all.
posted by mathowie at 11:31 AM on November 14, 2004


I didn't bother trying to count the passes because I wanted to see when the gorilla walked by. But I knew that would happen, so.
posted by kenko at 11:31 AM on November 14, 2004


I counted 14 and saw a gorilla, but there were a couple of passes I couldn't tell on (since they were partially hidden).

This is one of the first times one of these visual tricks didn't work on me, and it's not nearly as fun.
posted by dig_duggler at 11:32 AM on November 14, 2004


strike that. it wasn't even there until half-way through.
posted by imaswinger at 11:32 AM on November 14, 2004


I got 14 as well. I guess I knew there would be a distraction of some sort, and I saw it. I think bobo123 might have a point, after some of the later levels of an R-type or xevious kind of game, this seems pretty slow and casual.
posted by milovoo at 11:34 AM on November 14, 2004


I noticed something black walk by, and I thought it was someone in a gorilla suit or a ninja.

And people say eyewitness testimony is unreliable. The gorilla's defence lawyer would rip you to shreds, dude.
posted by RokkitNite at 11:34 AM on November 14, 2004


Yeah, at one point they pass the ball like, directly around the gorilla! I don't understand how people can not see it.

Especially because I was tyring to keep track of the white shirts by looking at the whole screen and trying to see the gestault of all 3 at the same time (in case they did something tricky like add another ball), or the 3-3 white-black balance, and then all of a sudden there was 4 black players.
posted by ChasFile at 11:38 AM on November 14, 2004


Also, I'd like to point out that the players on the black team are much better.
posted by ChasFile at 11:39 AM on November 14, 2004


The awesome thing about this video is to watch someone else watch it, then show it to them a second time. It's like revealing how a magic trick is done.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 11:40 AM on November 14, 2004


I'm pretty sure there where only 12 passes made by people with white shirts actually…
posted by fvw at 11:41 AM on November 14, 2004


Somewhat surprisingly, the authors received this year's Ig Nobel price in psychology for that study.
posted by ikalliom at 11:46 AM on November 14, 2004


In addition to video games, I bet watching or playing team sports really helps with your ability to do this kind of thing, because you are trained to see the whole field, not just concentrate on the ball, like many spectators do.
posted by ChasFile at 11:47 AM on November 14, 2004


15, saw gorilla. I'm guessing I wasn't supposed to see the gorilla?

I think I will credit video games as well. I think when I realized this was kind of like a game, my gaming brain kicked in and I was able to count the passes while looking at other things on the screen.
posted by perplexed at 11:48 AM on November 14, 2004


On 1st viewing, I counted 14 passes and did not see a gorilla. On 2nd viewing, having been clued in about the gorilla, I saw a video of a gorilla walking across the screen with, I think, thought I'm not sure, some people passing an object around it.
posted by SpaceCadet at 11:50 AM on November 14, 2004


We humans just aren't very good at stuff, are we?

Never say this out loud to anyone who works in computer vision.

*sobs*

It would be a coup if it were possible to reliably detect gorillas under any non-trivial circumstances. Don't sell your visual system short, man, it's truly incredible.
posted by tss at 11:53 AM on November 14, 2004


Interesting. I counted 12 passes. I knew something was up, but remained focused on the ball associated with the white shirts. 4 passes were thrown by those with white shirts around the gorilla, perhaps my counting was thrown off and I was distracted.

Do the Ss on the wall have any significance?
posted by quam at 12:00 PM on November 14, 2004


i counted 14 passes and saw the gorilla. the gorilla not only walks by, he turns toward the screen and roars before proceeding on his merry way.

i agree that a lot of experience playing video games helps tremendously with something like this: when you're used to keeping an eye on your health, ammo, inventory, incoming communications, incoming projectiles, and the movement of multiple entities on the screen while talking to your friends, eating food, drinking a beer and passing a smokable object around at the same time -- without pausing the game -- something as slow this video is a snap.
posted by lord_wolf at 12:04 PM on November 14, 2004


I counted 14 passes, and saw the gorilla for a split second when he was right in the center of the screen. They pass the ball right around him. It was kind of eye catching.

I'm disappointed that the experimenter didn't believe me.
posted by rafter at 12:08 PM on November 14, 2004


Our brains aren't for helping us collect data from our senses, they're for helping us ignore most of it and concentrate on what is immediately important.

These kinds of tests aren't great, because the very fact that they are presented as visual oddities makes people look for something odd in them. If we weren't told to look for something to begin with, I don't think anybody would have seen the gorilla. Or, if they had seen the gorilla, we wouldn't have counted the ball passes. We're not meant to multitask like that by default, but yeah, we can do it if we try.
posted by Hildago at 12:09 PM on November 14, 2004


hahaha. I just got here but I'm glad that someone has already brought up the video game angle.

The way many people deal with this video is exactly how to get yourself killed in video games.

People think they know, but they do not know. It's shameful.

It's interesting in the conclusion, the 2nd step, where they talk about losing things. Of course I have lost things ever since I was a child but I've found that only with increasing age and extreme sleep deprivation does the "passing over things right under your nose" spiel happen. Thank God. And evolution

Moral of the story: sleep f.t.w. Hahaha. People who say they don't need sleep are already hell bent on something or are comparatively retarded
posted by firestorm at 12:09 PM on November 14, 2004


Gorilla? What gorilla?
posted by JanetLand at 12:10 PM on November 14, 2004


I do agree with Hildago (should it no be hidalgo, or is there more?) above in that, had I not remembered this experiment, I would have laughed at the sight of the gorilla and dismissed the counting as unimportant. It was the gorilla after all which the researchers are really after.
posted by firestorm at 12:11 PM on November 14, 2004


It would also be interesting to administer the test over a couple of days. Tell people to watch the video and count the passes on Monday, and answer the second part of the test on Tuesday. I think a lot of people noticed some weird black shape in the frame, subconsciously ignored it, but still had some short-term memory of it when asked 30 seconds later. After 24 hours, most people would have forgotten the gorilla they weren't supposed to notice, but still remember the number of ball passes they were asked to look for.
posted by Hildago at 12:12 PM on November 14, 2004


I don't understand how people can not see it.
-ChasFile

People think they know, but they don't know. I'd say something catchy and snobby but my brain fails me at the moment.

It is a damn shame of the reality of many people though

People think they know, but they don't know.
posted by firestorm at 12:14 PM on November 14, 2004


I counted to 14, and then saw the gorilla. I almost did miss him, thinking he was another player in a black shirt. I didn't realize I was looking at him till he was halfway across the screen. I was surprised that 1) There was a gorilla there and 2) a friend had told me about a similar experiment he saw in a psych class. I didn't really believe him until now.
posted by elwoodwiles at 12:15 PM on November 14, 2004


Everybody seems upset that they didn't see the gorilla.

People, this is a feature, not a bug. Your ability to tune out the gorillas of life is what makes you intelligent. Otherwise you'd just be a camera, aggregating visual information to no end.

During the first few seconds of the video I could sense my brain acclimatizing and adjusting to the task, ascertaining that the white shirts were using only one of the two balls, and getting a sense for their relative motions. After that it was pure uninterrupted concentration, sort of like Luke approaching the torpedo shaft.

Remember, if you can't tune out the gorillas, Darth Vader has already won.
posted by ikkyu2 at 12:24 PM on November 14, 2004


That is really freaky. I honestly did not see it. On second viewing I can't understand how I missed it.
posted by AstroGuy at 12:30 PM on November 14, 2004


I counted 15 passes and saw the gorilla. But the mean website told me it didn't believe me.
posted by synecdoche at 12:34 PM on November 14, 2004


Counted 14, saw the gorilla, didn't know the trick. In fact, I thought that the trick was that it was going to be difficult to count the passes, then thought, holy crap, there's a gorilla.

Mean website.
posted by LittleMissCranky at 12:39 PM on November 14, 2004


Neato. I saw twelve passes and a quick weird black shape, but had no idea it was a gorilla. When I watched a second time and saw that he actually paused to beat his big hairy chest, I was agog.

So, what's the right number of passes? It would be nice to know if I got even that part right.

Oh, I'm bookmarking this so that if I'm ever tried for a crime on the basis of eyewitness testimony only, I can hire some F. Lee Bailey to play this for the jury. Remember The Thin Blue Line? I don't know how you could see it and this and ever have faith in what an eyewitness says happened in a fast, intricate series of events.
posted by melissa may at 12:43 PM on November 14, 2004


Passes: 15
Gorillas: 0
Had I been asked to count how many gorillas there were and subsequently asked how many times the white team passed the ball, I'd have gotten that wrong too. I'm just trying to do what I'm told.
posted by TimeFactor at 12:53 PM on November 14, 2004


I don't really get this one. It's not like we never see gorillas on TV. I saw the gorilla but didn't think it as odd. I would have never guess that was the point on the experiment. I mean, come on. If I saw a man in a gorilla suit on the way to work I doubt I would even tell anyone about it. In fact, I'm wearing a gorilla suit right now and even though I'm at a starbucks, I don't think anyone has noticed yet.
posted by sexymofo at 1:01 PM on November 14, 2004


Gorilla's in the midst.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 1:04 PM on November 14, 2004


I have no idea if this would have worked on me, because I already knew about the gorilla, which utterly ruins the point. Saw the gorilla, counted the passes. I'm a contaminated data point.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 1:13 PM on November 14, 2004


I counted 14 and saw the Gorilla enter the screen, stop in the middle do a jig type thing and walk off. Yay me! I think everyone above who says video games helped them is on to something. This has nothing on Doom 3 etc.
posted by riffola at 1:15 PM on November 14, 2004


I recently started working in Prof. Simons's lab. He's a brilliant guy, and almost all of his stuff gets the same response. I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to work with him.
posted by Eamon at 1:16 PM on November 14, 2004


Gorilla's in the midst.

Clever, but the researchers thought of it first.
posted by jjg at 1:19 PM on November 14, 2004


I just rewatched and it turns out it's actually 14 passes for the white shirts (it's a lot easier to count once you realise there's no passing between teams).

So not only didn't I see the gorilla (I noticed an extra black shirt come into play but didn't give it a second thought), I was also 2 off on the number of passes. I think my brain is going nihilistic and blocking out everything.
posted by fvw at 1:33 PM on November 14, 2004


Never heard of it before, counted 14 passes, wondered why they would put a guy in a gorilla suit in the video, and tried to figure out if they were going to ask a question about the Ss on the wall. Heavy video game user. Knew that had to come in handy one of these days.
posted by majcher at 1:41 PM on November 14, 2004


13 passes and 0 gorilla.
Shocked on the second play of the video.
posted by anathema at 1:58 PM on November 14, 2004


Not only did I not see the gorilla the first time, but even knowing about it now, if I re-watch the video and try to verify my count, I still tune the gorilla out entirely. (And I get 14 passes, too.)
posted by Acetylene at 1:59 PM on November 14, 2004


I counted 13 and saw the gorilla beat its chest. Moderate video game user.
posted by bashos_frog at 2:01 PM on November 14, 2004


First time I counted fourteen and didn't see the gorilla. Second time I saw the gorilla and lost count. But this still doesn't explain how John Ireland could go into the attorney's office and suddenly appear on his horse in the street! Alley Oop!
posted by ZachsMind at 2:10 PM on November 14, 2004


14 passes and I chose not to acknowledge any gorillas.
posted by rushmc at 2:12 PM on November 14, 2004


Gorilla?
posted by damnitkage at 2:15 PM on November 14, 2004


Am I right in thinking someone with Asperger's or autism would be unable to not see the gorilla? Does anyone know?
posted by Hogshead at 2:16 PM on November 14, 2004


HUGE gamer here. 14 passes (I actually saw 13, and assumed I missed one) and I saw everything that gorilla did.
posted by kevspace at 2:35 PM on November 14, 2004


1 gorilla, 14 passes, 18 years of video games.
posted by cell at 2:38 PM on November 14, 2004


14 Passes. 0 Gorilla. From a very early age I was always taught that you keep your eye on the ball, consequently that was all I was watching on the screen.

It would be interesting to see how a someone involved with the hitting aspect of a fast ball sport (Cricket, Baseball, Tennis, etc.) would respond to this.
posted by zedbends at 2:39 PM on November 14, 2004


I'm a gamer and I saw the gorilla. I only counted 11 passes, though.
posted by jpoulos at 2:40 PM on November 14, 2004


Maybe someone could redo this video, only instead of white shirts and black shirts, there could be Iraqi insurgents and American G.I.s, and in place of the gorilla, we could have Osama Bin Laden wheeling out 380 tons of high explosives.

Didja see him?
posted by bashos_frog at 2:42 PM on November 14, 2004


Space Cadet wins
posted by Pretty_Generic at 2:45 PM on November 14, 2004


I am definitely in the minority here.

Watched it with the SO-- he saw 15 passes and one gorilla.
I saw 9 passes and no gorilla. At all. Not one hair. But it does not surprise me in the slightest because this happens to me on a daily basis.

We'll be walking somewhere and he will say: "Oh my god, did you see that hysterical t-shirt that albino midget with the pet horseshoe crab was wearing?"
Me: " Midget?"
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 2:49 PM on November 14, 2004


Monday Morning. Saw 14 passes, was pretty sure I missed one so rounded up to 15, saw gorilla. Sleep deprived and grumpy, website insinuates I am lying.

I do not play video games and have just finished my first coffee. And the first time crashed Firefox, I had to watch it in IE.
posted by bdave at 2:49 PM on November 14, 2004


12 passes. Saw the gorilla the time the ball was passed over him, noticing one black figure was shaggier than the others. The only computer or video games I play are RPGs.

It would be interesting to see if "seeing gorillas" related to some other personality traits.
posted by norm29 at 2:49 PM on November 14, 2004


bashos_frog wins.
posted by rafter at 2:51 PM on November 14, 2004


13 passes (although I wondered for a moment if "bounce-passes" count), 1 gorilla, and 2 [letters] on the back wall

25 years of video gaming, have developed a fully conscious theory of mind...now I'm acting like a freak...and it's fun.

Have been quoted as saying, "Once you play quake for 6 months straight, driving a car is easy".

Also, I've written (re-written) a parable of the monkey (gorilla) (<-ssp)

-MoW
posted by wah at 3:34 PM on November 14, 2004


13 passes and no gorilla. I'm another person that was really surprised on replay. Is it possible they replaced the movie whilst I was reading?? Oh, and I've been playing video games for 23 years or so.
posted by deborah at 3:45 PM on November 14, 2004


I think the video gamer hypothesis is kind of suspect, given that everyone who drives a car also gets a lot of practice looking at a rectangular field of view and trying to take in every detail while at the same time focusing on specific areas.

A lot of people on metafilter play video games, too, so it would be hard to do controls for comparison.
posted by Hildago at 3:48 PM on November 14, 2004


Is it possible they replaced the movie whilst I was reading??

Y'know, it wouldn't be hard to set a cookie after the first viewing so that the second viewing would show you something quite different.

Yeah, I like that idea. It explains why I didn't see the gorilla...
posted by 327.ca at 3:49 PM on November 14, 2004


what surprises me is not the fact that there was a gorilla, but my nonchalant attitude when i saw it. i was thinking "1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, gorrilla, 8, 9..." for some reason, it didn't seem out of place at all. maybe i've been playing too many video games as well...
posted by joedan at 3:56 PM on November 14, 2004


15 passes and no gorilla. Video games, but no FPS (First person shooters)
posted by mikojava at 4:02 PM on November 14, 2004


13 passes, 0 gorilla. Moderate to high frequency of playing video games, but, um, not necessarily very good at video games.
posted by jennanemone at 4:12 PM on November 14, 2004


"Gorilla's in the midst."

Actually, for most people, gorilla's in the missed.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:16 PM on November 14, 2004


Secret, ha. You have an SO relationship like mine. Without him, I Mr. Magoo my way through life, surviving through dumb luck (bad eyesight + being daydreamy is not a good combination).

For instance: in my early teens, I once sat next to a man on the subway who appeared to be doing something elaborate with his shoes. Because I was vain, I didn't have my coke bottle glasses on, and I couldn't make out what he was doing. Several people, including a friend, got up from that side of the car until we were quite alone. When the man departed, my friend came back and asked me, genuinely freaked out, why I hadn't moved. The man had been cleaning out the dirt in the tread of his shoes with a giant switchblade and I hadn't seen a thing.

I always thought that being blind was rather helpful in that instance.
posted by melissa may at 4:17 PM on November 14, 2004


I got up to 9 and then asked myself, "Why the fuck did a guy in a gorilla suit walk through the players?"
posted by camworld at 4:19 PM on November 14, 2004


See this was ruined for me because I already knew the study. Accursed college education.

Although the variety of the study I heard of had a pink gorilla, and you were counting the number of a certain kind of martial arts move as guys were fighting.

Also, when he says "I don't really believe you," he misunderstands the original experiment. There was always a small but stable percentage of people that saw the gorrilla.
posted by kavasa at 4:19 PM on November 14, 2004


hogshead ... i think you're right ... next weekend when i have my 8 year old autistic daughter over, i'll have her do this and report what happens

my guess is she'll lose count and see the gorilla, like i did ... but i'd heard about this test before

still there's things i didn't see ... don't look again folks ... what was this done in front of? ... what was written on the wall behind them?

and no, i noticed what they were doing it it front of ... but i missed what was written
posted by pyramid termite at 4:20 PM on November 14, 2004


I heard about this a couple of months ago from my parents, who had seen it and did not see the monkey.

I saw the monkey. I wish I hadn't already known about the monkey. I envy people who didn't already know about it.
posted by interrobang at 4:22 PM on November 14, 2004


13 passes, vaguely noticed one of the guys in black looked a bit odd. Really, I feel sorry for all you hardcore gamers who have lost the ability to filter out irrelevant information. You must have a horrible time trying to watch movies in a theater without being distracted by the audience.
posted by Galvatron at 4:27 PM on November 14, 2004


yes, but did you see the fnords?
posted by Grod at 4:31 PM on November 14, 2004


beat me to it, grod
posted by ashbury at 5:08 PM on November 14, 2004


13 passes, saw the gorilla. What is odd is that I wasn't particularly startled when I saw him, probably just because that's nothing compared to some of the shit you see on the Internet ;)
posted by abcde at 5:13 PM on November 14, 2004


Also, I can beat Quake on Nightmare with no mouse <g>
posted by abcde at 5:17 PM on November 14, 2004


Reading back, evidently joedan shared my experience.
posted by abcde at 5:19 PM on November 14, 2004


Really, I feel sorry for all you hardcore gamers who have lost the ability to filter out irrelevant information.
You must have a horrible time trying to watch movies in a theater without being distracted by the audience.


Hmmm, I tend to rent for this very reason, I do wonder if those are related?

Can we think of any positive aspects of being this unfiltered?
posted by milovoo at 5:19 PM on November 14, 2004


As soon as the video loaded, I couldn't remember which passes I was supposed to be counting. After a second, I realized that each team only passed to its own color, and I vaguely remembered something about the white team being mentioned in the instructions, so I counted a couple then watched the gorilla wander through. However, I got distracted by the S on the wall, and didn't see the gorilla beat his chest or anything. When the video was over, I just guessed how many passes there were (10 to something range) because it sounded right, and got called a liar by the website.

This proves that an inattention to specifc details will reveal the bigger picture. Where's my grant money?
posted by headspace at 5:54 PM on November 14, 2004


14 passes, intensely focused on counting them. I was completely surprised the second time around.

Can we think of any positive aspects of being this unfiltered?

Er...um...attention deficit disorder? Could that be positive? Or it could just mean that if someone tells you to focus on one thing and you don't, you don't listen to authority. Okay, I got nothing.
posted by solistrato at 6:29 PM on November 14, 2004


14 passes. Subconsciously remembered the gorilla, but only was able to come up with it when it was presented as an option.
posted by jmccorm at 7:10 PM on November 14, 2004


I was counting, noticed something wierd, then switched to 'video-game mode' to look at the whole field while still counting, and said, 'Dude, there's a fucking gorilla in the middle of the field!' And still managed to count 14 passes.
posted by kaibutsu at 7:23 PM on November 14, 2004


what surprises me is not the fact that there was a gorilla, but my nonchalant attitude when i saw it. i was thinking "1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, gorrilla, 8, 9..." for some reason, it didn't seem out of place at all. maybe i've been playing too many video games as well...

I don't play a lot of video games, but this was pretty much exactly how it went for me. I was busily counting, then I thought 'huh, gorilla', then I finished counting.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:36 PM on November 14, 2004


I feel sorry for all you hardcore gamers who have lost the ability to filter out irrelevant information.

I dunno, being able to notice when a big hairy animal, which may or may not be a predator, comes into view while you're busy concentrating on some other task seems like a pretty revelant piece of information, and probably a pretty useful survival skill.
posted by majcher at 8:29 PM on November 14, 2004


16 passes (though one happened behind the back, and it wasn't thrown, just handed...) and I saw the gorilla suit-person come in. I saw them take the suit off, to reveal a black shirt underneath.
I was expecting the video to last twice as long and have another person change shirts, so that there'd be another person to count, and that'd throw me off.
I credit Call of Duty, though, for my attentiveness.
posted by Busithoth at 8:43 PM on November 14, 2004


having watched video again, I take back most of the previous statement. 14 passes, no disrobing of gorilla suit.
I credit Call of Duty with my paranoia-induced hallucinations.
I also would like to defend the eye-witness program. I just don't see how I could, except by distancing myself from it.
posted by Busithoth at 8:51 PM on November 14, 2004


Here was my thought process:

"1, 2, 3... bounce-passes, I am supposed to count those? I guess so... 4, 5 ... what is with the 5s on the wall?... 6, 7... gorilla!... 8, 9, 10 ... did the gorilla just wave at me or something?... 11, 12, 13, 14"
posted by falconred at 9:10 PM on November 14, 2004


Is this some sort of social experiment?

Are you guys serious when you say you didn't notice the gorilla?

I feel like I'm missing something, and it wasn't the gorilla. The web site says it doesn't believe me, but I don't believe you guys.

You seriously didn't see it?

*boggles*
posted by Ynoxas at 9:20 PM on November 14, 2004


Maybe it's just me, but I don't find anythign really interesting about this. On about the third pass, I realized that I needed to watch all the white shirts simultaneously; I pretty quickly lost track amid the confusion (not surprising, attentiveness games bore me). I didn't notice the gorilla-suit-person, but again, that's not surprising, because I was supposed to be paying attention to the balls.

So, unless there was a point aside from "when you're paying attention to one thing, you get distracted from others", I got it about ten seconds in.

On prev: ynoxas, I honestly couldn't tell you whether i noticed the gorilla. But I definitely didn't remember it. Those are really two completely different points, by the way: Whether I saw it, and whether I remember it....
posted by lodurr at 9:22 PM on November 14, 2004


13 passes, 0 gorilla. Dumbfounded on replay. I started out looking at all the action until I realized the white players were playing one isolated ball, then I focused exclusively on that ball.

being able to notice when a big hairy animal, which may or may not be a predator, comes into view while you're busy concentrating on some other task seems like a pretty revelant piece of information, and probably a pretty useful survival skill.

True -- if this were not confined to a tiny square on a computer screen. I also think that, whether on video or in person, a real "gorilla" would have triggered more of a response, even in peripheral vision, than the human in the gorilla suit. Or even if the human had tried to imitate gorilla motion better. The casual, loping, human gait doesn't sound any subconscious alarms.

Really, I feel sorry for all you hardcore gamers who have lost the ability to filter out irrelevant information. You must have a horrible time trying to watch movies in a theater without being distracted by the audience.

Hm. I saw no gorilla but movie audiences make me insane. The only way I can go to a theater anymore is for a 3pm Monday matinee or something where I'm likely to be the only one there. All the giggling, sniffing, coughing, harrumphing, and whatnot are bad enough -- add the customary slurping, smacking and crunching and I can hardly even hear the dialogue pumping out at me in DTS surround sound.
Wait, that was another thread...
posted by Tubes at 9:56 PM on November 14, 2004


Hm. I saw no gorilla but movie audiences make me insane. The only way I can go to a theater anymore is for a 3pm Monday matinee or something where I'm likely to be the only one there. All the giggling, sniffing, coughing, harrumphing, and whatnot are bad enough -- add the customary slurping, smacking and crunching and I can hardly even hear the dialogue pumping out at me in DTS surround sound.


Amen, brother. Amen.
posted by dig_duggler at 10:01 PM on November 14, 2004


14 passes, I saw the gorilla once he was about a third of the way into the screen. I noticed after the first couple of passes that black shirts were only passing to black shirts, and white shirts to white shirts, which, made it easier for me to take in other information, I think. It is interesting though - I remember thinking something along the lines of: Hmm, what's this dude in the gorilla suit doing? But after he left I stopped worrying about it.

It would have been better, I think, if the gorilla held up a sign with a funny/disturbing/shocking message. I don't think I would have been able to relay the message.

*Not only a gamer, but one just finishing a 2 hour Halo 2 marathon...
posted by cohappy at 11:39 PM on November 14, 2004


I saw it. My thought process was, "what a stupid trick, like a gorilla is gonna make me take my eye off the white shirts - oh SHIT - I think I missed one!"
posted by scarabic at 11:50 PM on November 14, 2004


14 and gorilla. kind of silly though.
as someone mentioned before, if you were asked afterwards how many black passes had been made you'd likely have no idea, gorilla or not.

as far as I can see, all this indicates is that when concentrating on a particular aspect of a scene, an observer will tend to tune out other aspects...it doesn't get more intuitive/trivial than that, does it? i mean isn't that basically the definition of concentrating your attention?
posted by juv3nal at 12:19 AM on November 15, 2004


Huh, saw it immediately -- almost distracting. I wonder what the difference is between people who saw it and didn't see it?
posted by ericrolph at 12:34 AM on November 15, 2004


I actually expected a zombie or something to pop up half way through, screaming extremely loudly. This is the internet.

If I'd watched it in a different environment, maybe I wouldn't have been so wary.

That said, I can think of only positive aspects to being "unfiltered" as long as I still managed to count the passes. The world is more complex than following a ball, and in real life (as well as in silly internet videos) devoting all your attention to one thing opens you up to shennanigans.
posted by cell at 12:55 AM on November 15, 2004


cohappy: Wouldn't have worked, the whole thing depends strongly on there not being too much visual difference between the gorilla and the black team. A sign would have spoiled that.
posted by fvw at 1:19 AM on November 15, 2004


i elect ericrolph as leader of the new resistance.
posted by Satapher at 1:23 AM on November 15, 2004


If this was instead filmed with four energetic Playboy models in skimpy bikinis, I guarantee most men wouldn't see the gorilla even on a second or third viewing.
posted by Meridian at 2:48 AM on November 15, 2004


Hah, I disagree Meridian, but that is only because most men would be upset that something was obstructing their view of the Playboy Models(g). 14 passes, no Gorilla. On second viewing could see him because I wasn't bothering to try and count the number of passes. I followed the rules exactly. I thought this might be more of an experiment with Tunnel Vision.

Under times of stress or focus you start to lose your other senses starting with periphial vision. If you've ever been in a fight you'll know what I mean. Only the gamers who have taught themselves to keep their field of vision/focus open seemed to see the gorilla regullarly. I've been a gamer for 25 years yet it didn't occur to me that I needed to keep my "focus" open for this(g).
posted by Wong Fei-hung at 3:00 AM on November 15, 2004


12 passes, but it took me a minute to orient myself at the beginning.
Totally noticed the gorilla.

Never play video games, but I am in film studies.
posted by SoftRain at 3:21 AM on November 15, 2004


Nobody saw the marmot leading the marching band?
posted by Blue Stone at 4:18 AM on November 15, 2004


Well, this was certainly interesting, mostly in seeing the range of responses. Mine was most similar to scarabic's, and I wound up with 14, but thought I might have missed one at the gorilla moment. It was instantly obvious to me that the gorilla was the point of the whole thing, but I wanted to try to get the right number of passes.

For the record, I haven't played video games since the heyday of Arkanoids / Revenge of DOH (arcade version, that is), which I did play rather obsessively at the time. But I have spent an inordinate amount of time driving, and I agree with Hildago that that is probably a more important influence.

However, I wonder how much of my (our) mental preparation was skewed by limitedpie's emphatic instructions. Before the video started, it was obvious that something was going to happen that had nothing to do with the white team passing the ball. By the time the gorilla appeared, I was watching the S's to see if someone swapped another letter on there and subconsciously musing something along the lines of "I wonder if the number of black players will change." Then it did, and one was a gorilla.

So in sum, it seemed like kind of a weak experiment (especially with that "don't believe you" BS), until I got to read this thread, which redeemed it for me.
posted by soyjoy at 7:55 AM on November 15, 2004


Never heard of it before, counted 14 passes, wondered why they would put a guy in a gorilla suit in the video, and tried to figure out if they were going to ask a question about the Ss on the wall.

Me too. I missed the gorilla chest-beating part, but saw the rest of it. I don't play video games, though I drive a lot. I did not enjoy being told that I wasn't believed at the end, and especially not being told if I got the right number or not. [the text, if you get the pass count right and say you saw a gorilla, is "Well done. You know what? I don't really believe you. But who knows? Maybe you are really gifted viewers."]. It wasn't until I came back to this thread that I even suspected what other people had or had not seen in the video. I also pretty much can't bear to go to movies at night, similar to what Tubes &c. says. The little blurb at the end aslo says

In our daily life we often come across items such as keys, pens, watch, remote control etc. that kind of "disappear" only to show up later in the same or other place. Did you ever ask yourself how does this happen? Or where those items where after they disappeared and before they were found again?

I don't lose my keys, either. Clearly I am not this experiment's trarget audience.
posted by jessamyn at 8:50 AM on November 15, 2004


I always thought that being blind was rather helpful in that instance.
posted by melissa may


Yes, but the sad fact is I have perfect vision and I still don't notice the gorillas and the albino midgets in life.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 9:12 AM on November 15, 2004


14 passes + 1 gorilla + 3 elevators + 2 symbols

heavy fps gamer.
posted by knapah at 9:15 AM on November 15, 2004


I really, really didn't see the gorilla. However, I did notice the S's on the wall.

If I'm focused on something, my husband can chatter on at me for several minutes before I look up and say "huh?". Drives him batty.

ps: I was joking about them replacing the movie. I think. It's disturbing that I didn't notice the gorilla.
posted by deborah at 9:50 AM on November 15, 2004


I counted 14 passes and saw the gorilla. I don't see what's so weird about it?
posted by cell divide at 10:30 AM on November 15, 2004


soyjoy: I think you right. My instructions were way too over-the-top and probably did tip a few people off. I was excited when I saw it (and failed to see 'it') that I just copied the instructions more or less from growabrain. I think for those who thought this was mundane, or uninteresting or too easy, they should try to show a few people themsevels (in rl) with more casual instructions. I *so* wish I had a time machine to go back and re-write my fpp :-)
posted by limitedpie at 10:43 AM on November 15, 2004


When my dad was in training for the RCMP, the recruits were brought into a classroom for a test on observation. Each was given a big long written test. While the rest of the recruits were furiously scribbling down answers, my dad simply sat there. He had written his name on the top of the answer key, but nothing else. Afterwards, when his buddies asked him what was up, he merely pointed to a chalkboard filled with scribbled notes from an earlier class. In one corner was written the following: "Write your name on the answer sheet and leave the rest blank." Thanks for the genes, dad.

14 passes, one roarin' gorilla, S painted on the wall. Even thought about keeping track of the black passes halfway through.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 11:57 AM on November 15, 2004


Ghost, I remember a test like that in 4th grade, but it was a little more elegant: It just said to read all the instructions before starting. And the last instruction was not to make any marks upon the paper. I was one of the 90% of kids in the classroom trying to get the right color crayons, or pencils, or protractors to do this or that nonsensical task that preceded the actual instructions - my best friend was the one kid sitting there grinning throughout the whole thing, while we gave her incredulous looks and dove in to complete more stuff before arriving at the last instruction.

But see, I hadn't started driving yet then.
posted by soyjoy at 12:06 PM on November 15, 2004


soy, that suggests an important point. These sorts of tests show that different minds work, well, differently. I'm concerned someone might come away from this thinking there's some sort of value judgement to be placed on seeing/not seeing the gorilla, when it just demonstrates your mind works in a particular fashion.

It is a cool experiment, though, that I'll be passing on to a few friends. But I wonder what research has been done into the value of the information gained.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 12:17 PM on November 15, 2004


Two of us watched this, noisy kids in background, and saw no gorilla whatsoever.
posted by Raindog at 12:19 PM on November 15, 2004


I counted 14 passes and saw the Gorilla clearly. I think it is because I was watching it on my tiny iBook-screen with my nose almost to the screen.

I'll try it on the wife tomorrow.
posted by knutmo at 2:41 PM on November 15, 2004


I might be the world's least perceptive person (ask any girl I've ever known) and I got the number and the animal both right. Take that, cognitive science!
posted by Octaviuz at 4:23 PM on November 15, 2004


How many of you knew in the first ten minutes who the Big Bad was gonna be in The Incredibles? How many of you knew he was dead when you watched Sixth Sense? Sit or stand?
posted by ZachsMind at 4:41 PM on November 15, 2004


I was thinking there was something strange going on early on in the Sixth Sense, but I sort of forgot about it as the movie moved along. Haven't seen the Incredibles, yet.

And, um, er, stand.
posted by lodurr at 6:26 PM on November 15, 2004


Yeah, neither have I, Zach... "thanks."
posted by soyjoy at 7:18 PM on November 15, 2004


14 passes and one of the players in a black shirt started beating his chest.

I also wonder if I was more intensely focused than usual because of the caffeine...
posted by quasistoic at 11:46 PM on November 15, 2004


"The Others" Is another one of those movies.
posted by crasspastor at 2:00 AM on November 16, 2004


I don't even know how to tell when a ball is passed or transferred or dropped or whatever. Feh.
posted by etoile at 8:00 AM on November 17, 2004


Yeah and Rosebud was Kane's sled. You're welcome.

"The Others" wasn't spoiled for me and I wish it had been. I was very disappointed in the outcome, but then Nicole Kidman never does anything for me. My earlier point was that many movies nowadays play with this same idea of mental sleight of hand. They bring the audience's attention to one thing in order to hide another, hiding the obvious in plain sight because they know most won't see it. Movies like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind or Memento start with the end because the destination is used to mystify the journey.

And, um, er, sit.
posted by ZachsMind at 7:07 AM on November 18, 2004


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