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Question about the gorilla experiment

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by Canterpiece, Nov 30, 2021.

  1. Canterpiece

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    So, there is a well-known experiment on focus where someone in a gorilla costume walks into various videos (or cartoon gorillas - there are variations) and the audience is tasked with keeping track of something else in the video and are not told of the gorilla until the end. The real test is to see if people notice or not. It only works if the audience does not know about the gorilla beforehand.

    Now, I was watching a docuseries on Netflix and one of the episodes was on how to focus. They showed a video and told the audience to count the number of jumps someone does on a trampoline and to ignore the gymnasts doing jumps over the exercise equipment. However, it is a deception, as the real test was to see if you noticed the gorilla that darts in and out of frame. As I was counting, in my peripheral vision I noticed something greyish move irregularly at the border of the screen. I dismissed this as probably being a gymnast wearing a coat who accidentally walked into the shot, I did not divert my attention to check what it was as I knew that if I did, I might miss jumps, so I made a split-second decision to ignore it.

    Then the narrator asked if I noticed the gorilla after revealing the number of jumps. As it turned out, that greyish movement I'd dismissed as a coat was the gorilla. So, in a sense, I noticed it. However, I did not notice it enough to know it was a gorilla instead of a coat. That's the problem with asking people if they saw a gorilla, since they might not register it as such. Does this count as a yes to noticing it? I would guess so.

    Interestingly, they sneakily put the gorilla in other shots throughout the episode, I did not notice these. The main reasons I noticed the gorilla in the gymnast video was because the grey stood out compared to other elements in the background, seemed to take up an unexpected amount of space and moved in an unexpected pattern. Which is why I thought it was an extra wearing a coat who messed up by walking onto the scene instead of joining the gymnast line. That seemed the most likely thing to me and I figured it didn't really matter as it wasn't important to the jumping.

    Whereas, the other gorillas moved much more smoothly (often in the centre in the background of what is happening) so my brain didn't flag it. Hmm. They were also a lighter shade of grey, I wonder if that was a factor.
     
  2. Chip

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    It's not clear exactly what you are asking. Can you clarify?
     
  3. Canterpiece

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    Let's say, hypothetically, that I had instead watched this video in an auditorium as part of an audience experiment. Then, after the experiment, we were all handed a piece of paper with the question 'Did you see a gorilla the first time watching this video?' and two tick boxes underneath the question (one for yes, the other for no). My question is, would it be more accurate to tick 'yes' as in yes I did see the gorilla or 'no' as in no I did not see the gorilla. Since in my peripheral vision I did see the gorilla, but I did not register that it was a gorilla.

    Not that it really matters, but I think what I'm getting at is does it matter that I did not register it as a gorilla specifically (would this be considered a no in regards to seeing it?) or is the fact that I registered the gorilla as an unusual greyish movement enough for a 'Yes, I did see it' to be more accurate?
     
    #3 Canterpiece, Dec 1, 2021
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2021
  4. Aspen

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    This depends pretty heavily on the researchers definitions for the experiment, but I'm going to say no. If you notice movement out of the corner of your eye but you don't recognize it as a gorilla, then you didn't see the gorilla.

    The reasoning being your eyes see things all the time. As I'm sitting here typing this on my laptop, there's the television, the couch, three of my cats, and the Christmas tree in my field of view, but I'm only focusing on my laptop. If one cat gets up and leaves the room, I'll see it but I may not acknowledge it until I look over and notice she's missing. Everyone can see the gorilla if the whole screen is within their field of vision. That's not what the experiment is about. The experiment is about whether you recognize what you're seeing or not.