The Invisible Gorilla

And Other Ways Our Intuitions Deceive Us

Chabris, Christopher F.

(Book - 2010)
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
The Invisible Gorilla
Reading this book will make you less sure of yourself--and that's a good thing. In The Invisible Gorilla, Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons, creators of one of psychology's most famous experiments, use remarkable stories and counterintuitive scientific findings to demonstrate an important truth: Our minds don't work the way we think they do. We think we see ourselves and the world as they really are, but we're actually missing a whole lot. Chabris and Simons combine the work of other researchers with their own findings on attention, perception, memory, and reasoning to reveal how faulty intuitions often get us into trouble. In the process, they explain: • Why a company would spend billions to launch a product that its own analysts know will fail • How a police officer could run right past a brutal assault without seeing it • Why award-winning movies are full of editing mistakes • What criminals have in common with chess masters • Why measles and other childhood diseases are making a comeback • Why money managers could learn a lot from weather forecasters Again and again, we think we experience and understand the world as it is, but our thoughts are beset by everyday illusions. We write traffic laws and build criminal cases on the assumption that people will notice when something unusual happens right in front of them. We're sure we know where we were on 9/11, falsely believing that vivid memories are seared into our minds with perfect fidelity. And as a society, we spend billions on devices to train our brains because we're continually tempted by the lure of quick fixes and effortless self-improvement. The Invisible Gorilla reveals the myriad ways that our intuitions can deceive us, but it's much more than a catalog of human failings. Chabris and Simons explain why we succumb to these everyday illusions and what we can do to inoculate ourselves against their effects. Ultimately, the book provides a kind of x-ray vision into our own minds, making it possible to pierce the veil of illusions that clouds our thoughts and to think clearly for perhaps the first time. From the Hardcover edition.
Publisher: New York : Crown, 2010
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 0307459659
Branch Call Number: 153.74 C429i 2010
Characteristics: xi, 306 p. ;,25 cm
Additional Contributors: Simons, Daniel J.


From Library Staff

A completely engrossing book about perception, attention, reasoning, and memory. After reading this book, I have never completely trusted anyone's stories about their past!

It seems like bad news that we can't trust our perceptions and memories, but the authors of this book actually make our mental foibles entertaining.

From the critics

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Jul 27, 2011

How missing the obvious ends up wrecking success, a New York Times Editor's Choice

May 19, 2011
  • ksoles rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

There seems to be a general formula for popular psychology books: 1) present an interesting and unbelievable anecdote 2) rationalize the anecdote using both expert opinions and data from scientific experiments that range from the banal to the fascinating. Perhaps I've read too much Malcolm Gladwell and William Poundstone to find The Invisible Gorilla ground-breaking but the book does illuminate false assumptions that are worthy of attention.

Authors Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons explain six illusions that have significant impact on human life: attention, that we think we see far more than we actually do; memory, that it changes over time and is much less reliable than we realize; knowledge, that we equate it to familiarity though the two differ significantly; confidence, that we generally believe we're more skilled than we are; causation, that one event directly leads to another especially if the two are chronologically distinct; and potential, that certain mythical processes can unleash latent powers of the brain.

What makes this book unique is that it focuses not on societal trends but on the responsibility of the individual. The authors do not dilute their scientific reasoning; rather, they write in a compelling fashion and allow their readers to think complexly. And their conclusion provides an encouraging send off: relying more on fact than on illusion translates into a society with less condescension, less danger and more cooperation.

Apr 19, 2011
  • lisastitch rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Interesting and very readable look at how our brains work-or don't work!--and how we get led astray.
If you enjoy this, you would probably also like THE BRAIN THAT CHANGES ITSELF, by Norman Doidge.


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Aug 17, 2011
  • mbakaitis rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

mbakaitis thinks this title is suitable for All Ages


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