How observant are you?

Matthew sent me this video, which will prove to you that when your attention is fixed on one or a few things, you can completely ignore big changes in the other things:


  1. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted July 25, 2018 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    I got 3, but only because I was forwarned to look for them. Remarkable that they could filter out all the sounds of the scene change.

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted July 25, 2018 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

      I only got 2. It was pretty embarrassing.

      There’s an episode of QI, the BBC panel show, where the guests are shown a video of a street scene for about thirty seconds during which lots of small, medium and large changes occur, eg. a tree pops up out of nowhere, the canopy of a shop disappears, a man walking his dog is swapped for a woman, etc.

      The crucial factor is that there’s a second’s blank screen between each change. This seems to render the changes essentially invisible. It’s striking how much difference that tiny gap makes.

      I guess the video Jerry posted is doing the same thing, only less explicitly.

    • Torbjörn Larsson
      Posted July 25, 2018 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

      I got 4, but only because because I went back and checked one and then another became obvious. The one change akin to the gorilla waltzing through the research version of this was of course easy because I was prompted to look for it.

      I was slightly amused that I did not care for dead objects except when they were colorful or could be important for riddling the whodunnit.

  2. Simon Hayward
    Posted July 25, 2018 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    Some but nothing like all!

    Reminded me of this:

    • Simon Hayward
      Posted July 25, 2018 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

      Sorry, didn’t mean to embed that

      • Wunold
        Posted July 25, 2018 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

        Happens to me all the time. Hint: In Da Roolz! #16 there’s an HTML tag to avoid embedding. BUT it still embeds if you use the YouTube address also as LinkText in the example.

        On topic, I know both videos for years, they’re great demonstrations of our deceivable senses.

      • Posted July 26, 2018 at 3:30 am | Permalink

        Make its a proper HTML link i.e. <a href=”<>” >descriptive text </a>

        • Posted July 26, 2018 at 3:32 am | Permalink

          Nearly got that right:

          <a href=”link here”>descriptive text</a>

    • Posted July 25, 2018 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

      I thought of that too. First time I did not spot it.

    • BJ
      Posted July 25, 2018 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

      What a terrible moonwalk!

    • Joe Dickinson
      Posted July 25, 2018 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

      In the version I remember, it was gorilla that walked past the bouncing balls, but same conclusion

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted July 26, 2018 at 12:05 am | Permalink

      I saw the bear instantly (though I was actually watching for a gorilla).

      There’s a website about it.


  3. GBJames
    Posted July 25, 2018 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    Very good!

  4. Posted July 25, 2018 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

    I saw no cyclists in any of them and the bear can’t moonwalk for shit. But that was fun.

  5. Mark R.
    Posted July 25, 2018 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    To answer your question.

    Apparently, not very.

  6. Roger
    Posted July 25, 2018 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    Me 100% failed it.

  7. BJ
    Posted July 25, 2018 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

    I noticed a few of them (likely only because I was actively watching for them) and thought, “well, this isn’t very hard.” Turns out I’m neither remarkable nor good at estimating my own abilities.

  8. JB
    Posted July 25, 2018 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

    Since we were forewarned, I took in every detail I could manage, then was overwhelmed when almost everything changed! I noticed the deer head, the change of victim, the change in at least 3 objects the suspects were holding, the object on the ground, the carpet. I think I saw maybe 10 changes (out of 21!) but that was so many that my brain was full! 🙂

  9. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted July 25, 2018 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

    I noticed quite a few, but I have 4 relatives in the film industry, and have often noticed continuity goofs in movie.

    MY favorite of all time: IN the first James BOnd movie, when JB is waiting for the villain to get home, he has a necktie in all frontal shots and none in the side shots.

    • rickflick
      Posted July 26, 2018 at 12:07 am | Permalink

      My favorite is a romantic comedy where the girl is clearly bra-less until she emerges from being drenched – at which points it becomes awkwardly clear they decided they needed to tone it down to get the right rating.

  10. shelleywatsonburch
    Posted July 25, 2018 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

    That was fantastic, and I will admit that I didn’t notice one set change.

  11. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted July 26, 2018 at 12:11 am | Permalink

    It was a clever advert. But I never have much luck with cyclists, the buggers are so good at dodging out of the way. 😦


    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted July 26, 2018 at 12:24 am | Permalink

      Although, in more serious vein, I’m not sure whether the concept of the advert is well-conceived. As the Invisible Gorilla experiment showed, too much concentration on one thing can cause one to miss other important occurrences. In this context, too much concentration on watching for cyclists could easily cause one to miss the brake lights of the car ahead until too late.


  12. Posted July 26, 2018 at 3:38 am | Permalink

    Being aware of the invisible gorilla illusion (see infiniteimprobabilit’s post up thread), I fixated on the bear on the right hand edge of the frame and, thus, didn’t notice anything except it turned into a suit of armour.

  13. Sastra
    Posted July 26, 2018 at 6:08 am | Permalink

    I noticed most of the decorating changes because I am in the habit of paying attention to decor. I find it interesting. So I think that, for me, it wasn’t so much a matter of “There’s been a change” as “I like that pattern on the drapes — hey, where’d it go?”

  14. Frank Bath
    Posted July 26, 2018 at 6:17 am | Permalink

    I’ve just read.’The Mind Is Flat’ by behavioural scientist Nick Chater. (Hard read for me). If I understand it we only take in one little thing at a time – but very fast – and imagine the rest of it.

  15. jimbo
    Posted July 26, 2018 at 6:30 am | Permalink

    I noticed the clock because I was looking at it when the detective mentioned the time of the murder, and I had a vague suspicion that the victim had changed (which he had.)

    I was actually thinking that I was supposed to be observant because it would reveal which person had actually committed the crime, which had nothing to do with any of it…

  16. busterggi
    Posted July 26, 2018 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    I noticed there were changes as it went along but that was maybe 2/3 of the way through so I wasn’t counting. My score would not have been impressive had I been.

  17. John Ottaway
    Posted July 27, 2018 at 6:08 am | Permalink


    I was chuffed that I noticed the bear/armour, the body, the clock and the vase

    And I only noticed the body because the second one put his knee up

  18. Ullrich Fischer
    Posted July 27, 2018 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

    Interesting. I spotted the change from the bear to the suit of armour and nothing else. I guess I figured there was only going to be one change, and stopped looking for changes once I noticed that. 😉

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