Friday, 29 October 2010

Good design, Bad design.

Today, our lecturer Jonathan Baldwin, tried a little experiment on us. Male vs female. Some of you may have heard of it, others not.
We watched a video of six people split into two groups of three. One group is wearing white t-shirts and the other group is wearing black t-shirts. Both groups were passing a basketball to each other. So everyone in the lecture had to count how many times the people in white passed the ball around between them.

Seems simple doesn't it? It was. Too simple, but there was a catch. Before Jonathan played this video though he told us something. That some people he knew discovered something - "Females cant count". So as we were all watching this video all the girls were concentrating extra hard to prove this statement wrong. During the video though there was a gorilla walking between the two groups and dancing. Surprisingly when our lecturer was asking us questions about the video there was quite a lot of people had missed the gorilla, they hadn't noticed it. Jonathan revealed to us that what he had said before about females not being able to count was a lie. He told us it so we would focus more on the video, therefore missing the gorilla.

I find this really strange but also fascinating, that some people focus so hard on something that they filter other things that are happening around them out. There was another experiment that we were told about. A bunch of people who thought they were either lucky or unlucky were asked to go through a newspaper and count how many photos of people there were in it. But in the middle of the newspaper there was a plain advertisement with no photos, just text, that said "once you see this advertisement stop counting the photos and go claim your £200". All of the unlucky people missed this advertisement because they were focusing so hard on finding the photos and all of the lucky people saw the advertisement as they were just casually looking through the paper, taking everything in.

After the lecture I thought about these experiments and about how they affect everyone. Its scary to think about what we could miss just by focusing too much. I never knew it could be possible. I've always considered myself as unlucky and to know that I would have probably been one of those that had missed the advertisement is kind of gutting. Missing out on £200 just because I was concentrating too much. So from now on I'll definitely be taking everything in. Make sure I don't miss anything that goes on around me.

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