Eyes wide open.

Count how many times…




In the above video, count how many times the players in white pass the basketball.







Gotcha? I love simple experiments like this. (Okay, maybe you already knew this about me. I hope you all enjoyed the donut one in class.) This one, in particular, illustrates how our attention is selective. We focus our attention on only a few stimuli, while our brains filter out much of everything else. It may sound like a disadvantage, but I’m actually quite grateful for this phenomenon. Without it, I wouldn’t have been able to tune out Dr. Stageberg’s ramblings during Econometrics… 🙂

This “inattentional blindness” could be related to the mainstream’s failure to predict the financial crisis. Maybe it’s not so much that the warning signs weren’t there, but that no one was really paying attention to them. Up until the bubble popped, the U.S. economy was experiencing economic tranquility, a period of time known as the “Great Moderation.”  As a society we weren’t focused on downturns and negative growth, and, as a result, tuned out the warning signs. We didn’t see the “600-pound gorilla” in the room.

posted under Econ488

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