Saturday, August 15, 2009

Gorilla in the Frame

I thought when I saw this picture enlarged, that sometimes we don't notice what's in the frame. There is a famous psychology experiment where students are shown a video of a basketball match. During the short piece, a man dressed as a gorilla comes into the match area and goes off again. Later, the students are asked if they saw anything unusual and generally they saw nothing that they considered out of the ordinary. We are so busy noticing the normal - what we're looking for and expecting to find - we fail to notice the abnormal or the unusual. I think this often applies to ourselves. We seldom see what is different or unusual about our own behaviour. One of the tasks of psychotherapy is to encourage the client to be aware of the things they do, about which they are unaware. Now I can see the gorilla in the frame. I didn't see it when I took the photograph though.