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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.
In any case, scientists "are exploring whether people who score higher on intelligence tests are less susceptible to inattentional blindness."
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!
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.
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.
Such cases are very well documented.