2008/03/20

Awareness Test

When I was in the eighth grade, I took a health class which was taught by one of my gym instructors. One day, while he was talking in front of the class, another gym teacher entered the back of the back of the room, walked around the class to the front, shouted at our teacher, raised a gun, and fired it!

The gun was a starter pistol, so no one was hurt. The event had been staged as way to demonstrate how different people will experience the same event differently. (It may seem an extreme demonstration these days, but it occurred just a year after John Kennedy was assassinated and many Americans had witnessed Jack Ruby's shooting of Lee Oswald on television).

After writing down what we thought we had seen, the information was read aloud. There were several different interpretations of what we had all just seen happen. Some of the "testimony" was totally "off the wall" to me. There were differences of opinion on the sequence of events, things that were said, how many shots were fired, and even who fired the gun! It would have been interesting to have had it on video tape to play back, but in those days the "audio visual aids" were limited to 16mmmamamammillimeterrrrrr mmmmovieee projjectttorsss which often didn't function too well anyway.

I will never forget that lesson, for it taught me that "eye witness" testimony - often touted as "bullet proof" by prosecutors - is pretty damned worthless unless you have several people who do not talk to each other beforehand (or are influenced by a biased party like the police or prosecutor) all testify to the same thing. Accident investigators know this fact well and focus on the physical evidence instead. A good police officer at an accident scene will also separate witnesses for this reason.

By the way, you should take my own version of events as related in the first paragraph with a grain of salt as well. ;^)

So, here's another awareness test. This one is on video, so you can play it back. Pay close attention and see how good your observational skills are! Ready?

11 comments:

Martin J Frid said...

Hahaha, I won't give the answers away, but I was only 2 off, and I was feeling rather smug, until I realized I failed "the second question" so to speak. Hilarious.

Don Snabulus said...

Very good. In America, we have a lot of commercials where people crash and/or fall down. Some are funny but none are smart. Nice to see a breath of intelligence once in a while...especially when it is funny.

ladybug said...

This is quite interesting...

I've also heard that our HUGE ability to ignore stuff is actually a uniquely human trait, (used for good, but to bad much of the time!).

In short, humans can focus and ignore extraneous stimuli, because we rely on our brains, instead of instinct, like most animals. An animal cannot "ignore" or turn off reactions, (with some exceptions, like seeing eye dogs, but must have extensive training to do so).

It's our greatest strength, yet our mightiest flaw..(Can anyone say "denial"?).

Strange.

The Moody Minstrel said...

I'm sorry, what were you saying?

Seriously, though...I was only 1 off on the passing (because I expected a fake-out along the lines of those "guess the card" guys who make a killing off of people's visual gullibility), but I totally missed the moonwalking bear.

I didn't miss the little red orb that briefly appears in the upper right-hand corner of the image, however.

I also noticed the big mole on the hand of the woman with red hair in the black team.

The Moody Minstrel said...

Ha ha! Made you look!

Pandabonium said...

Moody - good one! You had me going with the red orb...

All I really care about is that you see the Panda riding a Yamaha hybrid bicycle as you cruise along in your BLUE RAV 4.

Swinebread said...

That was a neat test. I got 12 so I missed it by one.

I bet if the bear had been in white I would have seen him.

Olivia said...

Cool, I got the numnber on the dot, and as for the bear - as the number appeared on the screen, my brain kept nagging like something about the video didn't sit right with me, so of course I slapped myself when he mentioned it.

That was great.

As a former pych student, I know full well that eyewitnesses are unreliable. Sometimes in an accident they can't even correctly recall the colour of the vehicles involved.

We see more than we think we do, (hence my nagging feeling) but the brain must filter out the extraneous stuff otherwise we'd probably explode like a robot: "Does not compute! Does not compute!" And possibly why hypnosis can sometimes effectively bring the filtered info closer to the surface.

Olivia said...

Minstrel - I know you well enough now that I totally ignored the remark about the red orb...I'm learning, I'm learning! :P

jam said...

Quite interesting is your awareness test.

Pandabonium said...

Everyone - thanks for taking the "test" and for your comments and observations.

Jam - thanks for visiting. I like your blog and will add a link to it.