Simon and Chabris

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  • The aim of this experiment was to investigate the influence of several factors on inattentional blindness. Looking at the effect of superimposition compared to live events and the task difficulty and the unusualness of the unexpected event.
  • There were 4 videotapes, made using the same camera, each lasting 75 seconds. Each tape showed 2 teams of 3, one named 'The White Team' and the other 'The Black Team'. They moved randomly, passing a basketball in a set order. 21 experimenters tested the participants individually.
  • Gorilla Condition: A gorilla appeared for 5 seconds, between 44s and 48s (in the video). It walked through the action, from left to right.
  • Umbrella Woman Condition: She appeared for 5 seconds between 44s to 48s (in the video). She was a tall woman holding an open umbrella, walking from left to right.
  • The second independent variable: this was the two types of video. In the transparent condition, each of the teams and the unexpected events were filmed separately, made partially transparent and superimposed on one another using digital techniques.
  • The Opaque Condition: all 7 actors were filmed at the same time, which had to be done very carefully during rehearsal so that no collisions occurred.
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