Todd's Reviews > The Invisible Gorilla: And Other Ways Our Intuitions Deceive Us

The Invisible Gorilla by Christopher Chabris
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's review
Aug 14, 2013

really liked it
bookshelves: consciousness-studies, health-psychology, science

The more I read and learn about the brain and how we perceive the world, the more I am convinced that reality is an ever shifting spectrum and, more to the point, that we misperceive so much that we may not really know what is going on in the first place.

Christopher Chabris is that admirable breed of scientist and teacher who can take his research and the findings of others and make it accessible to the general public. In so doing he does not reduce the profundity of what this research means for humanity.

He starts off describing an experiment that he and a colleague conducted called the Invisible Gorilla and guides us through how it is quite possible that we can be victims of inattenional blindness missing events that our occurring right in front of us. This is inspired by a real life situation in which a Boston policeman in hot pursuit of a suspect failed to see several fellow offices beating up a plainclothes policeman mistaken for another suspect.

From here the author goes on to take the reader through what he calls the six dangerous illusions. The illusions of attention, memory, knowledge, cause and potential that can fool us into thinking we know and understand more of the world and our experiences than we really do. When it comes to memory our brains don’t actually recall events as they happened. Instead the brain recalls events as it made sense of what happened. We may often misremember events…even our own personal history.

Science has already demonstrated that eyewitness testimonies are not always trust worthy, but before you finish this book you will start to wonder just how much of what you perceive or think you know is reliable. But fear not. The author discusses how we can overcome these dangerous illusions and can develop better awareness.

The Invisible Gorilla reminds me of a joke that the professor conducting an epistemology seminar I took years ago cracked; how do we know what we know? And how do we know that we know what we know?

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Reading Progress

07/08/2013 marked as: currently-reading
08/14/2013 marked as: read

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