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Where's the gorilla?

Posted by: Emily McManus

Tom_and_gorilla.jpgSeveral people wrote to TED this week asking about a clip that’s been making the rounds recently — starring a gorilla and a bunch of kids tossing a basketball. If you got this clip from a friend, and you’re wondering why you can’t find it on TED, here’s the story:

The gorilla/basketball clip was shown during Michael Shermer‘s onstage talk at TED in 2006, but we don’t have the rights to share this clip online. And Michael Shermer’s TEDTalk is wonderful even without the gorilla — full of mind-bending and eye-opening examples of how easily we fool ourselves, and why we believe such strange things.

You can buy a DVD containing the gorilla/basketball video and 19 more visual awareness demonstrations from Viscog Productions. Look for the DVD called Surprising Studies of Visual Awareness, Vol. 1. This year, Viscog released Surprising Studies, Vol. 2, with more “striking demonstrations that can induce failures of awareness.” (Educators, see if you qualify for the School Teacher License discount.)

Or you can watch Tom Rielly’s satire of the 2006 TED Conference, and see his version (it’s in the fourth chapter, “Where’s the Gorilla?”). It’s a less striking demonstration, perhaps, but there’s no doubt it’s a strange thing.