02 April 2014

"The Invisible Gorilla" by Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons

A book about how we humans can miss the most obvious of things because they are outside the realm of our expected exceptions. The authors give six types of cognitive illusions:

  • Illusion of Attention, in which we think we are paying attention when we are not; such as staring straight at a motorcyclist on the road and not recognizing the existence of the vehicle.
  • Illusion of Memory, such as being able to accurately recall a very detailed memory, most of which is probably made up by your mind.
  • Illusion of Confidence, such as distrusting a doctor who openly consults with reference material, even though such doctors are much better at making accurate diagnoses.
  • Illusion of Knowledge, such as thinking you know everything about how a bicycle works but most people cannot draw an accurate, detailed diagram of it.
  • Illusion of Causality, in which we falsely attribute some later events to earlier ones simply because they happened in a chronological order.
  • Illusion of Brain Capacity, such as playing classical music thinking it will increase our brain power even though it really does not.

Interesting tidbit: talking on the phone leads to driver impairment whether they are hands free or not.

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