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Inattentional Blindness and UFO's

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posted on Apr, 24 2008 @ 05:42 PM
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Why do ufo-ologists tend to see UFO's in the sky more frequently than the general public do? It often seems that the people that are open to the possibiltiy of UFO's are the most likely to see them, and some new discoveries in the way that humans process visual information could be shedding light on why this is the case.




Inattentional Blindness is the phenomenon of not being able to see things that are actually there. This can be a result of having no internal frame of reference to perceive the unseen objects, or it can be the result of the mental focus or attention which cause mental distractions. The phenomenon is due to how our minds see and process information. Closely related to the subject of change blindness, is an observed phenomenon of the inability to perceive features in a visual scene when the observer is not attending to them.



We are designed to notice patterns in nature, and sometimes it is very hard to notice things that you are not consiously looking out for.

Is what we see with our eyes really what is is out there? or do we collectively only see what we are expecting, or what we believe is possible? These are very philisophical questions, related to the nature of consciousness, that have no definitive answer yet. The Inattentional blindness effect is known to play a role in many situations, such as lifeguards not being able to spot people underwater (www.aquaticsintl.com...), drivers running over bicyclists, train engineers plowing into cars, submarine pilots surfacing under ships and airline pilots landing on other planes. In each case, the object or obstruction should have been easily noticed but was not. I contend that this could be an explantion of why people who belive in the existance of UFO's often end up seeing one in their lifetime, but people who dont belive they exist tend not to.

Perhaps you have had the following experience: you are searching for an open seat in a crowded movie theater. After scanning for several minutes, you eventually spot one and sit down. The next day, your friends ask why you ignored them at the theater. They were waving at you, and you looked right at them but did not see them. Just as we sometimes overlook our friends in a crowded room, we occasionally fail to notice changes to the appearance of those around us. This is Inattentional blindness, and not much is known about why this phenomenon occurs yet.

This occurs because even though the observers were “looking” right at the missed events, their attention was focused on other visual stimuli, or they were otherwise cognitively engaged.

Take this Inattentional blindness test for example. Its an experiment where you can test you ability to focus attention on a certain object in a short video and see how accurate you are.



(direct link; www.youtube.com...)



It works on about 50% of people. Theres an overview of this test here (only read this after watching it); en.wikipedia.org...

And a few more interesting sites about Inattentional blindness can be seen here;

A Matter of Perception
sustained inattentional blindness for dynamic events
Chinese, Americans Truly See Differently, Study Says
Inattentional blindness, Daniel J. Simons

Of course, this is all assuming that UFO's are real, but I find it a very interesting idea none-the-less.

Thanks for reading,
ZeuZ.

[edit on 24-4-2008 by ZeuZZ]




posted on Apr, 24 2008 @ 09:18 PM
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A few interesting notes, first is a phenomenon most commonly witnessed at night. Perhaps you've been driving down the road late at night, its dark out and as you drive you perhaps see a person/dog/what could be an animal etc, but as you get closer to the spot where you see this object it suddenly becomes a road sign.

When people look at things that their brain can't understand it does its best to "fill in the blanks" with the most appropriate image and most obvious possibility. In the above example, it makes sense to see a person standing on the side of the road, so when your eyes notice an object but cant quite make it out clearly it builds an image of what it roughly 'imagines' the object is. Obviously as your distance to the object decreases and your eyes get more solid information about what the object is your brain says "oops" and corrects the image to what it really sees.

Another interesting point is that it's said that when Columbus and his ships approached the coast of the new world the natives stood on the beach, but as the ships got closer and closer they couldn't see ships they simply seen a disturbance on the waves. Where as a European standing on the same beach would have a mental image of not only a ship, but an approaching ship the European would easily be able to understand what was going where as the Natives having never seen an eastern ship, or one approaching for that matter simply seen waves. Because their brains did not understand it was possible for something like that to happen, it simply "filled in the blanks" for them so that it seemed as if it were only a disturbance of the waves. Waves were the ONLY possible explanation for the natives, and thus their brain 'made it so'.

This is interesting to me because I use that reference all the time when explaining things to people. If your brain is not open to the possibility of something happening, it likely never will. This theory also applies to one point the OP mentioned and thats the fact that UFO enthusiasts are most likely to see a UFO, of course a portion of that is simply them WANTING to see a UFO, but I don't believe that is the case all the time.

Also an additional note to add to OPs finds, for any disbelievers of the theories hes presented how many times have you been looking all over your house for something to find that it was sitting out in the open the whole time. My cell phone the other day was placed directly in the center of my coffee table and I sat there frustrated for almost 5 minutes looking everywhere around my house, including the coffee table (SEVERAL times hah) ... after watching my frustration for a few minutes a buddy of mine hopped up out of the computer chair took one look at the table and said, hey isn't that your phone right there.

[edit on 24-4-2008 by king9072]

[edit on 24-4-2008 by king9072]



posted on Apr, 25 2008 @ 09:45 AM
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Hi ZueZZ,

"Inattentional Blindness" is just a new name for one of the many cognitive perceptual impairments out there that have been long recognized in the field of Psychology.

Some people, for example, have much difficulty in distinguishing 3-D images from 2-D ones. Others have great difficulty in isolating known patterns in images seen in photo's or through microscopes or in X-ray's, for example. My brother-in-law, who is a Radiologist, told me that some prospective Radiology residents are told to switch over to another residency program due to these cognitive perceptual handicaps.

In fact, I've seen a few members here in this forum who appear to have some limitations in the the area of visual cognitive perceptual abilities and this is very evident when one reads their "opinions" or "interpretations" on what they claim they are seeing or not seeing in many UFO and paranormal photographs that are posted in this forum.

Going under the assumption that they are telling the truth when they are saying that a "disc" shaped object in a photo, for example, clearly looks like bird to them where some of them go over and above to graphically "prove their point" when it's very obvious to others that the object they are analyzing and focusing on is clearly NOT a bird -- this is just one example of when a UFO skeptics' beliefs in this area over-ride and intrude in their analysis and observations of those objects in photo's like this.

So in cases like this, we should tentatively consider that such individuals may very well suffer from some form of "Inattentional Blindness" or one of the other visual cognitive perceptual limitations that studies have shown are NOT as uncommon as one may think.


In any case, scientists "are exploring whether people who score higher on intelligence tests are less susceptible to inattentional blindness."

www.apa.org...

Personally, I think that's a step in the right direction.



[edit on 25-4-2008 by Palasheea]



posted on Apr, 25 2008 @ 09:54 AM
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Oh I don't know if it is as simple as being blind or not wishing to see. I certainly feel, the fact that the eye can be deceived by 3 D pics and mazes, illusions, I really think there is something to it.

Perhaps one day, our eyes might see things that we don't see now.

Just recently I read a post where a member had suggested that the 2012 date signalled a time where people would see what has been there all along.

I also saw something in a meditation where 'those people' who are dead did not have an aura... I just wonder now if the aura (our energy or veils) prevents us from seeing things?

anyway, good thread, interesting read and thought provoking


starred and flagged.

you maybe interested in this thread I did. I am so interested in brain evolution with respect to the 'eyes' photon ratio response (shutter speed)

Energy, Colour and our Senses

cheers


[edit on 25-4-2008 by Thurisaz]



posted on Apr, 25 2008 @ 10:00 AM
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i can easily relate to the road sign analogy. i've heard the one about columbus though and i don't buy that one. they may not have known what the ships were, but i find it hard to believe they saw nothing at all. at long distances, how would the observer even be able to see a disturbance in the water? i think by the time he would be able to see the disturbance the ship would be practically on top of him.



posted on Apr, 25 2008 @ 10:25 AM
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Another instance of inattentional blindness are those cases noted by anthropologists who have studied primitive rain-forest tribes in the Amazon (and in Africa jungle tribes too).

Because such individuals have lived all there lives in a rain-forest or jungle surrounded by tree's and thick vegetation, but when transported to a large expansive grassland field where one can see for miles and miles in every direction, those rain-forest or jungle natives became completely disoriented in environments like this and could NOT SEE clusters of tree's or other objects (including mountains!) that were far off into the distance in those fields. The reason why is because they were unaccustomed to seeing things at such distances -- so for them, those objects weren't there! They simply did not see them!

Such cases are very well documented.


[edit on 25-4-2008 by Palasheea]



posted on Apr, 25 2008 @ 10:30 AM
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Originally posted by Palasheea
Because such individuals have lived all there lives in a rain-forest or jungle surrounded by tree's and thick vegetation, when transported to a large expansive grassland field where one can see for miles and miles in every direction, those rain-forest or jungle natives became completely disoriented in environments like this and could NOT SEE, clusters of tree's or other objects that were far off into the distance in those fields. The reason why is because they were unaccustomed to seeing things at such distances -- so for them, those objects weren't there! They simply did not see them!


That is fantastic! I had not heard of this before...

thanks



posted on Apr, 25 2008 @ 10:39 AM
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Those cultural differences in this area of study are fascinating!

Just shows that inattentive blindness and other types of cognitive perceptual awarenesses/abilities (or lack of) are sometimes very cultural specific. An fascinating area of research!



posted on Apr, 25 2008 @ 01:17 PM
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In my own alien encounter as a child I was told that they (some people we were close to in the UFO) did not see them(the alien craft), because they (the people again) did not want to, it has always puzzled me what they meant.

My story is here for those interested and with an open mind:
www.abovetopsecret.com...

[edit on 25-4-2008 by Acharya]



posted on Apr, 25 2008 @ 04:08 PM
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I think that video is more about focusing on specific colours than the fact that a gorrilla walks in.

The gorrilla is black, you are concentrating HARD on counting the passing by the white team and when ANOTHER black figure appears you just assume that it is another member of the black team (I did notice there was an extra black member but didn't stop to look at that figure because it didn't cross my mind that it would be out of the ordinary - why would it be? I'll lose count if i turn my attention away to inspect any of the black team)

If the extra figure was white however, or any other colour it would be easily noticable. Not a great "blindness test" in my opinion. It just demonstrates your ability to block out all other stimulus of one colour as opposed to another in order to achieve the original goal. Therefore I completely disagree that this is an "impairment" in any way, in this video anyway.

Proves nothing.

[edit on 25-4-2008 by dodgygeeza]



posted on Oct, 4 2009 @ 05:03 AM
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Another interesting point is that it's said that when Columbus and his ships approached the coast of the new world the natives stood on the beach, but as the ships got closer and closer they couldn't see ships they simply seen a disturbance on the waves. Where as a European standing on the same beach would have a mental image of not only a ship, but an approaching ship the European would easily be able to understand what was going where as the Natives having never seen an eastern ship, or one approaching for that matter simply seen waves.



I've been having a discussion about this sort of "blindness" today, and the person I was talking to told me about the "fact" mentioned above.
As he wasn't able to tell me the source of this extraordinary claim, I googled around, found nothing substantial, so I came here, searched for the story - and sure enough, here it is.


Virtual (and actually sincere) smiles notwithstanding, I'd seriously like someone to point me to the actual SOURCE of this story. (It doesn't matter if it's in any other European language: I'll manage.)

On Snopes I read a discussion that seems to point to a film, "What the Bleep do We Know?", as being the pop-source of this claim. But surely the authors of the film (I haven't seen it) based this assertion on actual historic sources?

I have a solid knowledge of history and enjoy visiting history-related websites, the following being my favourite:

The Internet History Sourcebooks
(edited by the indefatigable Paul Halsall)

(Be sure to visit the sub-site, the Internet Global History Sourcebook)

Nowhere did I find a mention of, let alone an actual source for, the story mentioned above.

So, if anyone could find it for me, I would be truly and sincerely grateful.


Thanks!







[edit on 4-10-2009 by Vanitas]



posted on Oct, 5 2009 @ 05:38 PM
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reply to post by Vanitas
 


I'll try once again.
Does anyone know the actual source of this story?

Thanks.



posted on Oct, 5 2009 @ 07:43 PM
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reply to post by Vanitas
 


My guess is

The best-known study demonstrating inattentional blindness was conducted by Daniel Simons of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Christopher Chabris of Harvard University.


en.wikipedia.org...

Even though the video has been removed I can see a cache of the screencap used and there are 2 last names too fuzzy to read but one of them starts with a C and the other one could be Simons but it's illegible.

This might be a similar video (This was a visual attention experiment conducted by Becklen and Cervone(1983) to show that the human mind has its limits):



[edit on 5-10-2009 by Arbitrageur]



posted on Oct, 5 2009 @ 07:50 PM
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reply to post by Arbitrageur
 


Oh - no, I meant the story about Columbus and the ships (see my immediately previous post).

But thanks!



posted on Oct, 5 2009 @ 08:00 PM
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reply to post by Vanitas
 
Sorry I misunderstood.

I study illusions and even have a thread about them so of course I believe in illusions, but that story that they couldn't see the ships makes no sense and no illusion I've encountered in my studies would account for that (except for possibly a layer of fog that was at just the right level to hide the ships but allow their wakes to be visible).



posted on Oct, 5 2009 @ 08:09 PM
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reply to post by Arbitrageur
 


It's no wonder you misunderstood: I "replied" to my own post as succinctly as I could, simply to "bump" the thread and possibly find an answer.


And your theory certainly sounds plausible, at the very least.

But I wonder, where did this story come from in the first place?
As I said before, I've never encountered it before. The first time I heard about it was a year or so ago, and the people who were talking about it had obviously got the idea from the film mentioned above.
(If anyone here has seen that film, do you perhaps remember any mention in the film of the source of this story?)

Did Columbus mention this anywhere?
(I've read all the available excerpts from his diary, and there was nothig there.)

Anyway, your thread sounds interesting!
I'll look it up.







[edit on 5-10-2009 by Vanitas]



posted on Oct, 5 2009 @ 08:14 PM
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reply to post by Palasheea
 




Such cases are very well documented.

Can you provide us with some of the documentation? I'd like to read more about it. It would seem to fly in the face of the idea that humans are the most adaptable of animals. I find it hard to believe that our senses (or any other animal) would have evolved in such a way as to "turn off" when exposed to something outside of our experience. It makes sense that the forest dwellers may not recognize distant trees as trees but to say that they do not see them at all, I find doubtful.

[edit on 10/5/2009 by Phage]



posted on Oct, 5 2009 @ 08:23 PM
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reply to post by Phage
 


Sadly, the poster hasn't been back since mid-2008, it would seem.
But I think s/he may be referring to Daniel Everett's studies on linguistics (language, amazingly, seems to affect the visual perception).



posted on Oct, 5 2009 @ 08:24 PM
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reply to post by Vanitas
 

Oh geez, sucked into a zombie thread again.



posted on Oct, 5 2009 @ 08:26 PM
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Oh geez, sucked into a zombie thread again.


I trust you're not referring to the present company...



P.S. Here is a link to Everett's homepage.







[edit on 5-10-2009 by Vanitas]



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