If a gorilla walked out into the middle of a basketball pitch, you’d notice it. Wouldn’t you? If a serious violent crime took place just next to you, you’d remember it, right? The Invisible Gorilla is a fascinating look at the unbelievable, yet routine tricks that your brain plays on you.
In an award-winning and groundbreaking study, psychologists Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons asked volunteers to watch a 60-second film of a group of students playing basketball and told them to count the number of passes made. About halfway through, a woman dressed head to toe in a gorilla outfit slowly moved to centre screen, beat her chest at the camera, and casually strolled away. Unbelievably, almost half of the volunteers missed the gorilla.
As this astonishing and utterly unique book demonstrates, exactly the same kind of mental illusion that causes people to miss the gorilla can also explain why many other things, including why:
• honest eyewitness testimony can convict innocent defendants
• expert money managers suddenly lose billions
• Homer Simpson has much to teach you about clear thinking
Insightful, witty, and fascinating, The Invisible Gorilla closely examines the false impressions that most profoundly influence our lives and gives practical advice on how we can minimize their negative impact.
"Entertaining and illuminating"
Dan Ariely, New York Times bestselling author of Predictably Irrational
"A riveting romp across the landscape of our psychological misperceptions."
Nicholas A. Christakis, Professor, Harvard Medical School
"This book will delight all who seek depth and insight into the wonder and complexities of cognition"
Jerome Groopman, Recanati Professor, Harvard Medical School
"breathtaking and insightful"
Richard Wiseman, author of Quirkology
"Like its authors, the book is both funny and smart"
Joseph T. Hallinan, Pulitzer Prize winning author of Why We Make Mistakes
"incredibly engaging…a must-read"
Elizabeth Loftus, author of Memory and Eyewitness Testimony
"engaging, accurate and packed with real-world examples - some of which made me laugh out loud"
Sandra Aamodt, co-author of Welcome To Your Brain
"not just witty and engaging, but also insightful"
Thomas W. Malone, author of The Future of Work and founder of the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence
"The Invisible Gorilla should be required reading by every judge and jury member in our criminal justice system, along with every battlefield commander, corporate CEO, and, well, you and I"
Michael Shermer, Publisher of Skeptic magazine and author of Why People Believe Weird Things
"Clever, illuminating, by turns shocking and delightful, this book will change a lot of your bad habits and could even save your life"
Margaret Heffernan, CEO and author of Women on Top
About the author
Christopher F. Chabris and Daniel J. Simons won the 2004 Ig Nobel Prize in Psychology for Gorillas in Our Midst. Chabris is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at Union College in New York. He was formerly a Lecturer and Research Associate in the Psychology Department at Harvard. Simons is a Professor Department of Psychology and the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Illinois. Both authors have had research published in top scientific journals with extensive media coverage worldwide.
Professors of Psychology Chabris and Simons write about six everyday illusions of perception and thought, including the beliefs that: we pay attention more than we do, our memories are more detailed than they are, confident people are competent people, we know more than we actually do, and our brains have reserves of power that are easy to unlock. Through a host of studies, anecdotes, and logic, the authors debunk conventional wisdom about the workings of the mind and what "experts" really know (or don't). Presented almost as a response to Malcolm Gladwell's blink, the books pay special attention to "the illusion of knowledge" and the danger of basing decision-making, in areas such as investing, on short-term information; in the authors' view, careful analysis of assumed truths is preferred over quick, intuitive thinking. Chabris and Simons are not against intuition, "...but we don't think it should be exalted above analysis without good evidence that it is truly superior."
Customer ReviewsSee All
Fascinating exploration of the workings of the human mind in both everyday and extraordinary situations.
Will keep me double-guessing my reactions and thoughts for some time to come