Friday, July 27, 2012

The invisible gorilla

Scientists have discovered that gossiping humans become so engrossed in their chatter that they lose all awareness of what’s going on around them. They call it the invisible gorilla effect, because the gossipers don’t notice when someone in a gorilla suit walks past them. Would they be distracted by a real gorilla? That would depend very much on how the gorilla reacted to being ignored.

I often encountered gossiping humans in my circus days, and was mightily relieved if I managed to sneak past them without being noticed. The last thing I wanted was to get dragged into the conversation and asked for my opinion on the latest fatuous tittle-tattle. To maximise my chances of escaping, I crept stealthily on all fours and refrained from farting until I had moved a good distance downwind.

A gorilla not used to the ways of humanity might well have behaved differently. If he had thought the humans were snubbing him, he would have stopped and thumped his chest. This normally has the effect of halting conversations in mid-flow and making the humans take heed of the gorilla. They would then have had the options of running away or assuming the submissive position.

Be that as it may, this invisible gorilla phenomenon has become so widely celebrated that a pair of psychologists have written a book about it. The Invisible Gorilla is the unoriginal title of their book, demonstrating their desire to lay claim to the catchphrase. The manager of the safari camp says I ought to advertise the book in this blog:

“You’d get paid whenever anyone clicked on the link,” he explained. “How many gorillas ever made money just by sitting on their hairy arses? You’d be the first.”

“No I would not.” I replied. “There was a gorilla who won a bet by sitting on an ostrich egg without breaking it. In any case, I’m not going to advertise a book until I’m sure I approve of its contents. I’m not a whore who can be bought for money.”

The book has its own promotional website outlining its seminal insights. The authors point out that many colossal blunders have been committed by humans because of blind spots in their brains. This is indeed true. Humans are constantly wringing their hands about the goofs they have made, or complaining about the goofs made by other humans. The purported aim of the book (apart from making money for the authors) is to help people avoid these calamitous pitfalls.

“We try to give you a sort of x-ray vision into your own minds,” they say.

It sounds very good in theory, but they’re a little too cocksure for my liking. I am also annoyed that they make no mention of real gorillas. Could this be because both of the authors are men who have lost their hair, and don’t want their readers to make unfavourable comparisons? I am thinking of posting the following one-star review on Amazon:

This book, written by two bald men, has nothing to do with gorillas. Its title should have been ‘The Invisible Hairpiece’.

Keep it short and sweet when you’re twisting the knife.

Gorilla Bananas is taking a short vacation and will return on Wednesday 8th August.

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Humans, male and female, are notorious for their inability to multitask. Snare our focus on one thing and we miss absolutely everything else. But those impressive slapheads would, I am sure, punch through any curtain of ignorance. They are domes that would stand out in any crowd.
I have been known(in the past) to be so caught up in a convo while driving that I reach my destination and dont actually remember the drive (can we say bad monkey)

Have a great vaca, you will be missed.
Does that gorilla in the pic actually have a rack????? Nice one!!!
someone really ought to tell white men they look foolish with shaved heads.
Just suppose a certain ape overheard two gossipers discussing the inherent superiority of the human species over our simian underlings? How would that little scenario play out?

A vacation from what?! Isn't your life one, long banana-eating holiday after another?
when those two authors put their heads together, they really make an ass of themselves.

that's one of my mom's jokes . . .
have a pleasant holiday, GB.
btw, i like bald men.
This is one of those ball-scratching business books, isn't it?

But, GB, people buy this rubbish. If you cared about such trifles as money you could make a fortune writing about "releasing your inner ape for business success."
Anyone who has seen that episode of the Simpsons knows that no one wants to take advice from bald men (with the possible exception of Captain Picard). Anyway, I think humans snub the gorilla because they are dicks. If Fran Lebowitz wrote this book maybe I would read it, but I will not read a book by bald men.
Steve: Women claim to be better at multi-tasking than men, but I've never seen them do it while having a natter.

Monkey man: That's nothing to worry about, it just means your brain has an autopilot. As long as you don't have memories of driving in Cloud City you should be OK.

Keep it real: Well noticed, ma'am! I think they're probably human, though.

Billy: A bald fashion statement? I never thought of that. Maybe they think they look like intellectuals, having never watched The Benny Hill show.

Mr UB: If the ape were bored he might challenge them to a toe-wrestling match. You're actually not far from the truth about my life being a succession of holidays. Sometimes I need to move around and mingle with my hairless cousins.

Dr Ken: Your mom has an impressive visual imagination. I'm wondering if she's seen it happen in real life.

Jaya: Thanks, Jaya. Would you massage the scalp of a bald man if he asked you to?

Jon: Hah, such books were not written for self-employed cynics like you! I've often advised humans to find their inner ape, but never to help them succeed in business. People who believed that would believe anything.

Jimmy: That's a very good point about Captain Picard, Jimmy. Of course you'd be a fool not to listen to his advice, especially if you happened to be on Alpha Cynus IX. This Lebowitz woman sounds like a smart cookie - maybe I'll peruse her annals.
I will sit on an ostrich egg without breaking it. Bet you Gorilla.
I'm sorry old boy, but I just can't see your point.

We had an elephant in the room, once, that nobody could see, but he was behind the standard lamp so no surprise there.
Is that what happens when the 'mind plays tricks' on us? Invisible gorilla walks in...

Ah, vacation - to where?? Enjoy! Hx
Interesting reading about the gorilla affect and gossiping ppl. :) And Have a great vacation!
hmm. i have and i would provided the scalp is not oily :)
it's weird though.
Crazy Mama: You don't weigh as much a gorilla, Crazy Mama, so no one would take your bet. How about a goose egg?

The Owl Wood: You couldn't see it because of the blind spots in your brain. I suggest you buy the book and study the arguments of these eminent psychologists.

Hannah: Thank you, Hannah. I shall be observing my human cousins in the European continent.

Gossip girl: Thanks GG. Hope things cool down for you in redneck country!

Jaya: You've done it! You ought to write about the experience. Were you tempted to give it a little slap, like a percussion instrument?
Perhaps these fools mistake classy unflappability for chatty blindness. They are unworthy to use the term "gorilla".
It is striking that the co-authors are blatantly bald. One can't help but miss that, even during a gossip session. I think you should post your one-star review, GB.

Surely it doesn't matter if a Gorilla is invisible?

The smell will let you know that there's one about.
: ) when you're done observing, here's an award, no further action needed - : ) x
I don't know about an invisible Gorilla but, I know I've been caught talking about someone while they were right behind me.
Yikes!!!! ;0

I am a whore that can be bought. Everybody has a price.

Would this classify as an "Invisible Gorilla"?
(Considers running but assumes the submissive position instead.)
Mr Boyo: Too right. They should wear wigs before daring to mention our names in vain.

Robyn: Thanks for your encouragement, Robyn. I may add a sentence suggesting they shine their heads with beeswax.

TS Bastard: Gorillas don't sweat as much as humans, so sniffing us out requires a well-trained nose. It would be easy to trick a human by leaving dirty undies in strategic locations.

Hannah: Thanks, Hannah, I'll be over to accept it.

Laura: Oh dear, Laura! Whoever you were talking to should have told you to zip it.

Static: I don't think your link is a gorilla of any kind, but the submissive position would be appropriate for a whore.
I love the suggested modification to the title. You are a clever ape.
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