Inattentional Blindness & Ceiling Fans
The human brain is incredibly weird. There are quite a few things I’d like to write about but I think today we’ll discuss the wonders of a ceiling fan. In our bedroom there has been a ceiling fan for the last three days now. That might seem unremarkable to you but it raised a lot of questions for me. It was installed two days ago and the cords hang down well into my vision. When I lie back in my bed and look up it is right there in the middle of my vision and when I awake in the mornings it is, once again, there in my vision.
Why then did it take me over two days to notice it? It wasn’t until I flipped the wrong light switch and it lit up the room that I noticed it was there. This is not a small light either, it is a full ceiling fan and light combination. I cannot quite grasp how my brain was able to not so much ignore it but literally make it invisible. I looked right where it was and for 48 hours I literally could not see it. I wonder how often this happens in our lives? I am aware that you can swap the person someone is talking to and as long as they didn’t notice the swap they won’t notice that it is different people.
Does this happen while people are driving? What critically important things are we doing that get altered in real time by our brains? It is as much troubling as it is fascinating. It’s not simply your government, or parents, or businesses that are censoring your life, but also your mind.
It was a very peculiar experience for me and one that I’m sure will delight, confuse, and disturb me for a long while to come.