Friday night was the premier of "Would You Fall For That?", a show that performs psychological experiments in the public. The first experiment featured the hosts marketing carbonated water as a "power drink" and convinced beach visitors that it gives magical powers. Most of the people fell for the placebo effect.
The last experiment featured on the episode involved a host passing flyers for her missing dog in Central Park, with large pictures of the dog in the middle of the flyer. While the dog is standing 50 feet away from the host and can be seen as people walk away from the host, the majority of the people involved in the experiment fail to notice the dog. Many people even look in the direction of the dog, they simply walk away and carry on. Even when they dress the dog in gaudy clothing and accessories and update the flyers with the appropriate pictures, people still fail to identify the missing dog that's close by.
The program attributes this phenomenon as "inattentional blindness", which Wikipedia defines as "the failure to notice an unexpected stimulus that is in one's field of vision when other attention-demanding tasks are being performed". Basically, we are often too focused on one thing that we fail to notice anything else that is going on.
Another day, I was watching Shark Tank, a show that features entrepreneurs trying to secure funding from "sharks", or investors, for their ideas, prototypes, or business. I watched the founder of Hy-Conn stand before the sharks and woo them immediately with his product, a connector that lets you connect a hose to a fire hydrant in less than 3 seconds. He brought a fire hydrant, fire hoses, two men, and had one man connect his hose using the standard connector, and another using the Hy-Conn connector. It was clear that Hy-Conn's connector can clamp onto fire hydrants almost instantly; it is a solid product, and investors are impressed.Continue reading →