change blindness

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In the U.K., the public transit agency turned to a marketing campaign built around a famous psychology experiment.

In the Netherlands, reports the NYT,

Dutch drivers are taught that when you are about to get out of the car, you reach for the door handle with your right hand — bringing your arm across your body to the door. This forces a driver to swivel shoulders and head, so that before opening the door you can see if there is a bike coming from behind. Likewise, every Dutch child has to pass a bicycle safety exam at school. The coexistence of different modes of travel is hard-wired into the culture.

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A cop from Glendale, California, dressed up as a giant rabbit and crossed the street to see if drivers would yield to a pedestrian. Well, sort of a pedestrian. Twenty four motorists ended up with tickets.

“The reason that we set it in a bunny suit is that’s clearly an obvious, different and unique pedestrian that would be walking across the street,” (a police lieutenant) said.

Hat tip: The Invisible Gorilla via How We Drive.


The inaugural Nudge blog post featured Transport for London’s controversial adaptation of one of psychology’s most famous experiments on change blindness. In the test, individuals are asked to count the number of basketball passes by a pair of teams dressed in black and white. What people frequently miss is a giant bear that moonwalks across the screen. It was a gorilla in the original experiment. With yesterday’s post on eye heat maps of Google searches, the Nudge blog has been trolling for more eye heat maps. Guess what popped up? A map of the moonwalking bear test.

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