posted on Dec, 22 2009 @ 04:45 AM
Why is this in paranormal?
It is an interesting video. Some professional psychological experimentation is designed not so much to find new knowledge, as to make new and dramatic
demonstrations of what is already known. This video is in the latter category.
It has long been well known that in navigating through life, we are parsimonious with information processing, attending to a few features, extracting
what we need to know on the fly. To do this successfully is, of course, an ability in its own right.
That is to say, however nice it is for the Buddha that he is "fully aware" of his environment, the rest of us are not sitting around on our butts
all day in a dimly lit room with no furniture. The challenge of genuine human life is to process a changing environment on the fly.
So, the movie opens with a man posed under a sign that says "Experiment Here." Two of the subjects said that the sign reads "Experiment." One
subject stated that he signed a form which he did not read. These reports establish the well-known phenomenon, and adaptive cognitive strategy, of
Meh, call it change blindness if you like, but the Harvard guy gives away the mapping between the two terms in his interview. "Maybe" whether
you notice a change depends on which features you are relying upon. Yeah. Maybe.
There are some methodological problems with this demonstration, but what it depicts is so uncontroversial that I think it is harmless error.
Nevertheless, the previous poster is correct, I think, that at least one of the subjects gave a Candid Camera double-take when she saw the
switch. Afterwards, she dummied up about it.
Why dummy up? Because otherwise she would have volunteered that she thought she had dealt with two men, with no reason to think that that was even
possible. She would sound like a nutcase. So, she kept it to herself, or maybe even internalized an edited encounter ("Hmm, that's not right, oh
well, need to pay better attention in the future..." - as if it were her mistake).
I think this is harmless, though, since some of the other subjects did seem surprised. So, 75% may be an exaggeration, but the phenomenon is both
real, and also the inevitable consequence of known facts about feature extraction.
I am a little bit concerned about the experimenters' manipulativeness of the grant-funding public in calling a human ability a sensory
deficiency, a "blindness." That is sort of like calling having sex "celibacy failure."
Some people do exactly that, of course. But that doesn't make it sensible. It just tips off that the speaker has something to sell. Tsk, tsk.
[edit on 22-12-2009 by eight bits]