You do not talk about fight club if you do not notice fight club: Inattentional blindness for a simulated real-world assault

Christopher F. Chabris, Adam Weinberger, Matthew Fontaine, Daniel J. Simons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Inattentional blindness-the failure to see visible and otherwise salient events when one is paying attention to something else-has been proposed as an explanation for various real-world events. In one such event, a Boston police officer chasing a suspect ran past a brutal assault and was prosecuted for perjury when he claimed not to have seen it. However, there have been no experimental studies of inattentional blindness in real-world conditions. We simulated the Boston incident by having subjects run after a confederate along a route near which three other confederates staged a fight. At night only 35% of subjects noticed the fight; during the day 56% noticed. We manipulated the attentional load on the subjects and found that increasing the load significantly decreased noticing. These results provide evidence that inattentional blindness can occur during real-world situations, including the Boston case.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)150-153
Number of pages4
Journali-Perception
Volume2
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2011

Keywords

  • Attention
  • Detection
  • Eyewitness testimony
  • Illusion of attention
  • Inattentional blindness
  • Law and psychology
  • Noticing
  • Perception

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Artificial Intelligence

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