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Cathy Davidson On How The Brain Science Of Attention Will Change Our Lives

Flickr photo/tnarik

One of the most famous psychological experiments of all time is called the attention blindness test, also known as the gorilla experiment. Here's how it goes. First, researchers sit their subjects down to watch a video of a basketball game. Then they tell the subjects to count the number of passes made. After a minute or so, a person in a gorilla suit walks right into the middle of the game, in full view of the camera. Now, here’s the fun part. When the researchers ask their subjects who saw the gorilla, more than half say they didn't. That's because the subjects were too focused on counting passes.

Duke University Professor Cathy Davidson says we can learn something important from this experiment. Davidson is the author of "Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Learn." She tells Wisconsin Public Radio's Anne Strainchamps why attention blindness matters.

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Check out a video of the selective attention test below: