Monday 18th February 2013
Thanks again to the BBC for this story.
‘There is something odd about this scan of a patient’s lung. Have you spotted it yet? How about the dancing gorilla on the right?
It is not an everyday finding for radiologists, who are skilled at searching scans for tiny anomalies with potentially life-threatening consequences.
But in one study, more than three-quarters of specialist tumour spotters were caught out by the greatest anomaly of their career.
The out-of-place image was the brainchild of Dr Trafton Drew, a psychologist at Harvard medical school. He spent hours watching radiologists flicking through CT chest images and marvelled at their ability to detect tiny indicators of lung cancer.
“When I first saw radiologists searching through these images, they go through so fast and they detect these things that to me looked completely invisible and I just wondered how in the world are they doing this?”
He was inspired by a classic experiment from the 1990s, in which observers of a basketball practice failed to see a man in a gorilla suit walk across the screen. Dr Drew believed that radiologists, “the best searchers in the world”, were good at detecting cancers but wondered what else they might be missing.
When we focus our attention on a narrow task we tend to miss other things and this effect, termed inattentional blindness, is exactly what the basketball observers were demonstrating. It turns out that there’s a big difference between looking at something and perceiving it.’
It just could be immense. History is littered with examples of people who made their fame and fortune by seeing, thinking, or otherwise perceiving information that was out there, but ignored by everybody else. Guess what?
You can train your brain to see what others miss. I show how this can be done in all my books. Please forgive the gentle marketing plug but I do have some pretty tasty eBook offers on my website at the lowest price. http://www.drstephensimpson.com/home/products/books/
Have fun! If you still can’t see the gorilla it might be a case for Specsavers!
Best wishes, Steve