The Monkey Business Illusion

Before going any further, watch the video above. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

(hums Jeopardy Theme to self)

I just finished reading Daniel Simons book, The Invisible Gorilla that deals with this video and other topics related to observation, multi-tasking and other ways our intuition decieves us. I am planning a cartoon based on one of my favorite learnings from the book.

Tell me how you did in the comments.

BTW, I did a guest cartoon for Jande over at Aedre’s Firefly. Check it out.

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58 Responses to “The Monkey Business Illusion”

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  1. lisleman says:

    I have seen this type of video experiment before but as it points out I did not notice the color change or the player leaving.
    I have no idea how you are going to do with a cartoon.

  2. Gav says:

    Got the correct number of passes and saw the gorilla, but didn’t notice the person leaving or the curtain changing colour … what does that mean?!!

    • Bearman says:

      They say about 1/2 the people can notice the gorilla but many don’t count the right number of passes. You are better than some but you didn’t see it all so it helps focus that people who say they are great multitaskers may not be.

    • jynksie says:

      I’m with Gav, I got the 16 passes and the gorilla, but the rest I did not notice. Well, I noticed the girl walk off when the gorilla walked on, but I didn’t notice she had actually “left the scene entirely” if that makes any sense?

      Plus I’d like to lodge a complaint, going from red to orange IMHO Isn’t enough of a hue change to notice the curtains change. (So rather than admit I missed it, I’m blaming the creator of this observation test!)

      Now, what doess THAT tell ya?!? *smirk*

      • Bearman says:

        That tells me that when you run a red light and the cop pulls you over that you believe that yellow is too close in color to red and you thought you had more time to make it.

  3. Gav says:

    Yeah looking forward to how you get a cartoon out of it!

  4. Comedy Plus says:

    I was counting along just fine and then that gorilla entered and I quit counting. I didn’t see the player in black leave, and I didn’t know the curtain changing color. That was pretty cool.

    Have a terrific day. 🙂

    • Bearman says:

      Thanks. I was one who completely missed the gorilla but got the number of passes and noticed something was wrong with the curtain but wasn’t sure.

  5. Friggin Loon says:

    I also have watched this video before 🙁 Can’t wait for you to do a toon though. I’m wondering how you are going to hide the gorilla 🙂

  6. I definitely miss a lot of details in life and this video makes an excellent point. Looking forward to seeing your cartoon.

  7. Binky says:

    Most people have trouble enough following one thing. When too many things are going on, humans do a lousy job of monitoring them. (Wombies are much better!)

  8. G says:

    Saw Magilla Gorilla, counted 15 passes but missed the curtain and the other player leaving.

    Cool video though.

  9. Scholar Mel says:

    I got the correct number and did see the gorilla. I did not see the girl leave but then again I wasn’t paying attention to the people the black shirts on.

  10. Nate Fakes says:

    I missed the gorilla. I saw the curtain change. I did get the passes right! So, that makes me….um…moderately dumb?

  11. George says:

    Okay, I got the number of passes correct, but I swear I did not see a gorilla, a player leave, nor the curtain color-change the first go round. That’s amazing! I don’t know how I could have missed it.

  12. Midtoon says:

    Gorilla, check. Passes, Check. Curtain… What curtain? I guess I score the same as Nate 🙂

  13. Jande says:

    Now that was fun! Power of suggestions:”Watch the white players…” Saw the gorilla and like Comedy Plus, lost count, missed the person exchanging places with the gorilla, but did notice the curtain change colour.

    I’m definitely going to check out his site and his book. Thanks Bearman!

  14. Jande says:

    And thanks so very much for the hilarious guest cartoon for Aedre’s Firefly! It’s a hit! :`)

  15. Malveka says:

    Saw the gorilla, the curtain change, and the person leave. Now, what’s all this about balls and passes? 😛

    OK, that’s not *quite* the way it was. Very interesting. Trial after trial continue to indicate that humans are not particularly good at “multitasking”, yet there seems to be a continuing insistence in popular media that this skill is a hallmark of the “new” generation.

    Well, they certainly might be better at it than me. For example, Jande is currently talking to me from across the room and I haven’t the faintest idea what she is saying because I am typing this at the same time. Fortunately for me, she saw my glassy stare and realized I was already processing a different task. My ears don’t work that well at the best of times and they definitely turn off when my fingers are pecking away at a keyboard.

    Still, I don’t believe that people of any generation can *effectively* carry on a five-way text chat, listen to lyrical music, watch television, play World of Warcraft and do their calculus homework, all at the same time. Not going to happen. Especially not happening if I’m in the same room with the person trying this feat, since I would probably explode very messily just attempting to witness it.

    At any rate, ummm…, Hey! Look at that! There’s a gorilla in my backyard! Oh, wait. Never mind. It’s just my neighbor in his swim trunks. Well, it *is* a hot day.

    Let’s see now… what was I saying? O.O

    • Bearman says:

      I think women might be better than men at the whole multitasking thing.

      I know for me, DVR has saved my marriage. My wife tends to bring up obscure points right at the good part of the show when I really need to pay attention. Before I would miss it paying attention to her. Now that I can pause the TV, and give her my full attention, we are both happy.

      • Jande says:

        I would wager that women are only slightly better than men at multitasking. I know I miss a lot because of the level of attention I’m paying to something. And because of this I tend to go back over what I was doing to make sure I haven’t missed something vital.

        This for me is especially true with trying to do math/reading/listening while something colourful or graphic is poking at my attention. Thus I saw the gorilla pound his chest and the colour change, but missed the exchange of black figures (gorilla and black-clad woman) and lost count.

        Mal neglected to say that he was also wearing earbud headphones when he was typing that soliloquy above, and that was something I didn’t notice right away when I was yakking at him.

  16. bschooled says:

    There was a ball?

  17. MC/Curtis says:

    I got the count correct and saw the gorilla too, but missed the other two things.

    The demand for multi-tasking is out of control. It’s generally right in the job description now. It’s very stressful to have to do.

  18. Lynn says:

    I saw 15 throws and missed both the gorilla and the color change of the curtain. Interesting experiment.

  19. Tony McGurk says:

    I got the 16 passes & saw the Gorilla & thought YAY!!! I’m a genius.
    Then I thought to myself “Self, I didn’t see the black player leave & I’m certain the curtain didn’t change colour” Then I saw the replay, “Doh!!!”

  20. Jillsy Girl says:

    I’m pathetic!! 😉

  21. Duncanr says:

    I’d seen this vid before so didn’t bother to count the number of passes.

    I was watching for the gorilla and the curtain colour change 😆

    I forgot about the player in black leaving the stage 😳

    I’m curious how you’re going to make a cartoon out of this !!!

  22. Dr. Cynicism says:

    LOVE this vid and the one from their original experiment. I show this to all my students. Funny what we miss…



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