Doing one thing, thinking another

In his "neurosphilosophy" column in the Guardian, Mo Constandi writes about IdeaFestival 2011 participant Daniel Simons and the subject of inattentional blindness. Simons makes a number of points - most notably that our auditory sense can similarly be deceived, and that inattentional blindness increases with the demands of a task - but most interesting is the following thought: "the bigger issue is not our failure to notice. The problem is with our mistaken intuitions about what we will notice."

One of things I've learned in the time that I've been writing this blog is just how little of our walking around lives are present to conscious thought and reflection. It's the same phenomenon philosopher of psychology Eric Schwitzgebel writes about at length on his blog, Splintered Mind, the "intelligent mistakes" that precede the fatal calculations of pilots, as described by author Laurence Gonzales, or more happily, the contented lull that great magicians like Teller use to great effect on stage. Teller does one thing. We think another.

Constandi's column is based on this interview posted at his Google+ account, which goes into much more detail. Check it out.