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The Invisible Gorilla: And Other Ways Our Intuitions Deceive Us

3.86  ·  Rating Details  ·  8,638 Ratings  ·  496 Reviews
Reading this book will make you less sure of yourself—and that’s a good thing. In The Invisible Gorilla, Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons, creators of one of psychology’s most famous experiments, use remarkable stories and counterintuitive scientific findings to demonstrate an important truth: Our minds don’t work the way we think they do. We think we see ourselves an ...more
ebook, 288 pages
Published May 18th 2010 by Harmony (first published 2010)
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Deagger Yes, but it analyzes the different types of common ways in which our conscious mind misinterprets things, rather than dissecting the most complex…moreYes, but it analyzes the different types of common ways in which our conscious mind misinterprets things, rather than dissecting the most complex things that don't have a definite conclusion.(less)
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Apr 09, 2013 Petra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Instead of writing a full review, I'd like to take up some issues with the low-star reviews, which seem to have strong patterns to them that should be adressed. As a disclaimer - I am merely a reader of this book, not a psychological scientist, and I do think negative reviews have their place for ANYTHING that is meant for an audience. And they are important because when reading reviews, you want to know whether the product is something *you* would like to have and may share some of your interes ...more
Jan 14, 2014 Doug rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a mostly fascinating book which discusses the differences between how we imagine that our minds/brains work and how really do. The authors are the psychologists who did the experiment a decade ago using a movie of two teams of people passing basketballs back & forth between them. They asked people to watch the film and count the number of passes between members of the team in white tee-shirts. Then they asked the watchers if they noticed anything unusual about the film. About half th ...more
Crystal Starr Light
Bullet Review:

Fantastic thoughtful book. I think EVERYONE needs to read this, just to remind us that, hey, everybody's got limitations.

Jenny McCarthy, if by some odd chance, you are reading this, I have one thing for you: SHUT UP. Shame on you for deceiving parents into not vaccinating their kids because they MAY get autism - which ISN'T TRUE IN THE SLIGHTEST ANYWAY, but really, autism is WORSE THAN A DEAD CHILD??!?! Do us a favor and go away - after loudly proclaiming what a moron you were for
Sep 03, 2010 Julie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
There are some pretty major flaws in the experiments he lists as "proof" of his points.

-Deciding whether a person has a "good" or "bad" sense of humor-- based on whether their ratings of jokes correlates with 30 professional comedians? Seriously? Isn't it obvious that the people who score "poorly" are just the kind of people who don't go to comedy clubs, or find the dumb jokes on TV funny?

-There ARE a variety of ways a chess player can be underscored in the ratings. (Although, it is true that 10
Jun 11, 2010 Emily rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I finished this book much more aware of how limited my mental abilities are. And that's a good thing. As Chabris and Simons state in the conclusion, these mental illusions "result from mistaken judgments about our limitations." If we are willing to acknowledge and accept those limitations we are that much more aware of the illusions and better able to see through them.

Chabris and Simons discuss several commonplace, everyday illusions which the vast majority of us are not only unaware of, but act
Jul 11, 2010 Bruce rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Clear headed look at a number of flaws in the human brain's wiring. "Flaw" is clearly a loaded term - more specifically, in the context of modern society, the human brain gets a number of things (objectively) wrong. For those with a lot of familiarity with similar literature, there isn't a whole lot new here. Another problem is that the book bogs down with lengthy discussion of specific issues (e.g. the science pertaining to vaccinations, the effect of video games on cognitive ability, specific ...more
Vasil Kolev
(I'll probably need to re-read it in a few months)

The book deals with the basics of some of our mental processes and their deficiencies. It describes the most common ones:

The illusion of vision/attention - that we can and see everything we set our eyes on (which is the one shown by the gorilla video and the one that got them the Ig Nobel award);

The illusion of memory - we think that our long-term memories don't change (and they do);

Confidence - we tend to value confidence a lot more than it's wo
This book looks at the things we think we know, but really don't. There are Illusions of Attention, Memory, Confidence, Knowledge, and Potential. Each of the illusions is examined, with examples shown of the differences between what we think happens and what really happens.
Attention-Everyone believes that we see everything that happens in the world around us. This is where the famous Invisible Gorilla video comes into play. Check it out. This is just one example of selective attention. We only
Jan 25, 2012 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Because I was already familiar with the hidden gorilla experiment demonstrating inattentional blindness, I initially assumed this book would be a rehash. But it delivered a more detailed study of the illusion of attention and six other illusions, and turned out to be an informative source of information on hidden human behavioral patterns. This are:

(1) Illusion of Attention—although we think we see what’s in front of us, focus and expectation leads us to often miss the unexpected, even when it i
The authors conducted a experiment a while to see how many people would see something right in from of them while focused on another task. People were asked to watch a video. They were instructed to count the number of passes of a basketball between a few people. After the video they asked them how many passes they counted and if they had seen anything strange while watching the video. About half said they had not. But a person in a gorilla's costume passed through the screen and pounded its che ...more
Richard Williams
illusions of attention, memory, confidence, knowledge, cause, potential. excellent well organized, informative, important book.

each chapter is an illusion caused by our mental structures, like optical illusions effect our perception, a must read for anyone interested in clearer thinking, which ought to be everyone.

each chapter presents an illusion, like the gorilla in the basketball passings video. presents the illusion, then using experimental results and interesting examples shows us what the
David Everling
A book on the psychology of intuition and perception. Thematically similar to "Blink" by Malcolm Gladwell, but their conclusions don't often agree.

While The Invisible Gorilla has plenty of informative passages, thoroughly evaluating contemporary psychology myths in each part, the book's necessarily negative overtone (subtitled "And Other Ways Our Intuitions Deceive Us") makes it somewhat dissatisfying as a whole despite valid insights. The book has to be cynical because its unique angle is in it
So...this book got published because it's by a pair of celebrity scientists (not to say that that affects their other work, but I think it effected the book).

The problem that I see with it, generally, is that they have a very interesting set of experiments about what they call attentional blindness and the illusion of attention. I.e. the reason that a bunch of people didn't notice a gorilla (well, someone in a gorilla suit) walk through a crowd of students passing around basketballs, and why peo
This is an awesome book. I loved the part about the illusion of memory, I loved the part where they warned about correlation becoming causation, and I loved the part about the gorilla experiment. The authors tried to stay neutral on issues like religion in this book, but lots of what was said in this book reminds me of Caveman Logic.

Awesome quote:
"Parents and scientists seeking a cause for the increase in autism rates spotted this association [between vaccinations and autism:] and inferred a ca
Jul 11, 2011 Jeremy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good read for a plane ride. It puts together several "illusions" that are all related to how our brain works. The authors assemble a mountain of academic research in their field, psychology, and several related ones, and package them into compact, wonderfully written chapters. There are deep insights every couple pages. What is admirable throughout is their rigorous commitment to the scientific method, to questioning their own conclusions, and to limiting and qualifying most of their results. ...more
Sep 15, 2013 Terri rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to like this book; it's right up my alley. I love Gladwell, I love Sheena Iyengar, etc. But I could not finish this book - I had to give up after four tries. The authors present a premise, give an interesting anecdote or research that proves the point, and then proceed to beat the reader over the head with a long-winded narrative to prove the point they already proved. Even worse, the additional narrative usually ends up weakening their argument or even disproving the point/premise! On ...more
Clark Hays
Don’t trust anyone, especially yourself!

This book is a quick read about a topic that should interest us all: how notoriously inept we humans are at using the one thing that sets us apart from other animals — our brains. Written by the creators of a classic experiment in which subjects focused on a task (counting basketball passes) fail to see a person in a gorilla suit walk on screen (hence the name), it examines our mental shortcomings in glorious, disheartening detail.

As it turns out, we’re t
Oct 28, 2015 Ron rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: work
The Invisible Gorilla by Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simmons

This book is a great read. It gives six ways that we allow ourselves to be deceived: attention, memory, confidence, knowledge, cause, and potential. The book describes in each of these areas and then lists several case studies that give details on the way we are deceived. It is hard to do this book justice based on all of the case studies that give supporting evidence. A couple of general observations:
• It was amazing how many times
Rubia  Costanza
Jul 18, 2015 Rubia Costanza rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novel is an adept corroboration of insights and studies attributing to the notion that our minds eye isn’t necessarily all knowing, and perhaps misses the whole picture by lack of peripheral vision, so to speak. In other words, it is insinuated that the illusion of attention distracts us from cues from the vision world. The ice cream bowl/drowning study referenced demonstrates how bias contributed to the illusion of cause. Real world inferences are projected as well, such as the concept of ...more
May 18, 2015 Meagan marked it as did-not-finish  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, science
This was starting to feel a bit repetitive to me. Once I buy in to the premise that memory is flawed, I don't need example after example that demonstrates it, with explanations about how it demonstrates it each time. I'm just not invested enough to go past my fifty pages.
Stewart Tame
Nov 09, 2015 Stewart Tame rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A highly interesting book! The title refers to the well-known online video in which viewers are urged to count the number of passes made by one basketball team. At one point in the video, a person in a gorilla costume walks through the scene, but many viewers are so busy tracking passes that they don't notice. This book is about some of the hidden biases in the way our brains cope with the world. At least some of these will probably shock many readers. While it's probably impossible to eliminate ...more
Jan 17, 2015 Lee rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Anyone who has read enough Discworld or Harry Potter books knows that we muggles are very good at ignoring what our brains tell us shouldn't be there.
ᴡʜᴀᴛ ᴅᴏ ʏᴏᴜ ᴛʜɪɴᴋ, said Death. ᴀᴍ ɪ ʀᴇᴀʟʟʏ ʜᴇʀᴇ, ʙᴏʏ?
“Yes,” said Mort slowly. “I… I’ve watched people. They look at you but they don’t see you, I think. You do something to their minds.”
Death shook his head.
ᴛʜᴇʏ ᴅᴏ ɪᴛ ᴀʟʟ ᴛʜᴇᴍsᴇʟᴠᴇs, he said. ᴛʜᴇʀᴇ’s ɴᴏ ᴍᴀɢɪᴄ. ᴘᴇᴏᴘʟᴇ ᴄᴀɴ’ᴛ sᴇᴇ ᴍᴇ, ᴛʜᴇʏ sɪᴍᴘʟʏ ᴡᴏɴ’ᴛ ᴀʟʟᴏᴡ ᴛʜᴇᴍsᴇʟᴠᴇs ᴛᴏ ᴅᴏ ɪᴛ. ᴜɴᴛɪʟ ɪᴛ’s ᴛɪᴍᴇ, ᴏꜰ ᴄᴏᴜ
Mar 08, 2012 Deb rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
* *

Do you think you would notice if a gorilla ran into a basketball game that you were diligently counting passes for? Think again!

As _The Invisible Gorilla_ reveals, we're all deluded by how capable we think our minds are. We've all been under the spell of believing that our brains' abilities and potentials are far greater than they actually are. The reality is that our minds don't work in the ways we think they do. Our "common sense" results in us intuitively accepting these six everyday illu
Bob Nichols
Aug 17, 2012 Bob Nichols rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The authors once conducted an experiment where people were asked to count basketballs while another person walked through their field of vision, unnoticed, dressed as a gorilla. The authors concluded that there was an illusion of attention ("inattentional blindness"). They expanded this notion to write this book about the illusions of memory, confidence, knowledge, causal relationships, and potential. Their lesson from all of this is that we need to be wary of our intuitions as they are poorly a ...more
Victoria Klein
Aug 01, 2010 Victoria Klein rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Do you ever feel like your mind is playing tricks on you?

You’re not crazy – your instincts are deceiving you (those bastards).

My latest rental from the library, The Invisible Gorilla: And Other Ways Our Intuitions Deceive Us by Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons, provides a jaw-droppingly fascinating perspective into mental illusions that influence our every word, action, and thought.

Chabris & Simons, both established cognitive psychologists, are best known for their “Gorillas in Our Mids
Mike Vardy
This book offers a lot of discussion and experimentation as to why our experiences are affected by our intuitions. It also offers a lot of acknowledgments to people and footnotes. This is all well and good, but the fact that it offers insight into how you can curb these illusions is the most gratifying conclusion you can expect.

While we can’t completely eliminate these illusions around us, we can “override” them by knowing that they are there — if only for brief moments. Chabris and Simons point
Nov 05, 2013 Jamie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons spin out their widely known "invisible gorilla" experiment on inattentional blindness into an entire book, with each chapter exploring the psychology behind one of six everyday illusions.

This includes stuff like overconfidence, cause vs. correlation, errors in memories, and others. And as with most books in this vein, they mix newspaper headlines and anecdotes with scientific psychological research. What I probably appreciated most about the book was how the
Jan 22, 2011 Sylvester rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This book took me down a couple notches. According to Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons, I miss a heckuva lot that's going on right in front of my nose, and come to conclusions based on my own state of mind rather than the facts. The book sets out to debunk 6 or so everyday illusions - attention, knowledge, memory,confidence, cause, and potential. In the process it takes down a lot of commonly held beliefs (eg. doing crossword puzzles increases your brain power for other areas of life, or th ...more
Kate Woods Walker
Nov 01, 2011 Kate Woods Walker rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
There's a decent-enough structure behind this book--six mental bugaboos to avoid--but the authors' obvious right-wing biases weakened their presentation.

It's true enough (as this book notes) that correlation does not equal causation, but sometimes correlation can point the way to a workable hypothesis.

So here are a few things I noticed about this book. People and things who received positive spin in The Invisible Gorilla: George W. Bush, Chief Justice John Roberts, Jim Cramer, the Iraq War. Peop
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Dan Simons is a professor in the Department of Psychology and the Beckman Institute at the University of Illinois.

Simons received his BA in psychology and cognitive science from Carleton College and his PhD in experimental psychology from Cornell University. He then spent five years on the faculty at Harvard University before moving to Illinois in 2002.

Simons' scholarly research focuses on the l
More about Daniel Simons...

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“Your moment-to-moment expectations, more than the visual distinctiveness of the object, determine what you see—and what you miss.” 2 likes
“the confidence people express often reflects their personalities rather than their knowledge, memory, or abilities.” 2 likes
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