SHORT AND SWEET

You do not talk about Fight Club if you do not notice Fight Club: Inattentional blindness for a simulated real-world assault

Christopher F Chabris

Department of Psychology, Union College, 807 Union Street, Schenectady, NY 12308 USA

Adam Weinberger

Department of Psychology, Union College, 807 Union Street, Schenectady, NY 12308 USA

Matthew Fontaine

Department of Psychology, Union College, 807 Union Street, Schenectady, NY 12308 USA

Daniel J Simons

Department of Psychology, University of Illinois, 603 East Daniel Street, Champaign, IL 61820 USA

   

Abstract. Inattentional blindness—the failure to see visible and otherwise salient events when one is paying attention to something else—has been proposed as an explanation for various real-world events. In one such event, a Boston police officer chasing a suspect ran past a brutal assault and was prosecuted for perjury when he claimed not to have seen it. However, there have been no experimental studies of inattentional blindness in real-world conditions. We simulated the Boston incident by having subjects run after a confederate along a route near which three other confederates staged a fight. At night only 35% of subjects noticed the fight; during the day 56% noticed. We manipulated the attentional load on the subjects and found that increasing the load significantly decreased noticing. These results provide evidence that inattentional blindness can occur during real-world situations, including the Boston case.


Cite as: Chabris C F, Weinberger A, Fontaine M, Simons D J, 2011, "You do not talk about Fight Club if you do not notice Fight Club: Inattentional blindness for a simulated real-world assault" i-Perception 2(2) 150–153; doi:10.1068/i0436
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DOI: 10.1068/i0436

ISSN: 2041-6695 (electronic only)

Copyright: Copyright is retained by the author(s) of this article. This open-access article is distributed under a Creative Commons Licence, which permits noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction, provided the original author(s) and source are credited and no alterations are made.
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