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Video: Tales of the unexpected – inattentional blindness

In his second video for SHP Safety Talks, Andrew Sharman, CEO of RMS, introduces the concept of inattentional blindness. If we’re concentrating really hard on one thing, we could potentially miss out on seeing something very important happen.

How does this work? Andrew explains everything, including the concept of invisible gorillas and how they apply to health and safety.

The SHP Safety Talks are a series of small thought pieces designed to get you thinking, whilst perhaps sipping your morning coffee. The SHP team have invited key individuals from the safety world to deliver these mini-lectures, and you can expect only the most insightful challenging and engaging threads.

For more videos from the SHP Safety Talks series, visit our CPD  downloads page.

If you agree or disagree with Andrew thoughts, then let us know in the comments below and we can keep the conversation going.

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Showing 5 comments
  • lach
    Reply

    Yeah….the more we focus the more perspective we loose ….see the satellite eye as it focuses …first you see the earth as a ball, then it disappears , then the clouds… next you see ground and clouds disappear

    • Andrew Sharman
      Reply

      Thanks lach, great example!

  • kJ
    Reply

    Interesting clip Andrew. I wonder if how many see the gorilla in the clip or even see the red x …………….I am going to watch again to see what else I have missed as I spent more time looking for gorillas. Throughout my career I have seen people take risks because they are task blinded

  • Nigel Dupree
    Reply

    Not forgetting WEL, over-exposure to any stressor will, result in tiredness, fatigue, loss of alertness thereby exacerbating and significantly increasing the risk of errors, over and above that associated with even a couple of alcoholic drinks leading to misjudgment and unintentional mishaps.

  • Phil Bosworth
    Reply

    Inattentional blindness is partiularly relevent when driving. The brain can only process so much information and although the eyes will take in the whole scene in front of a driver, the brain is only able to process a sub-set of that information and the rest slips from memory. Unfortunately, when a driver is particularly bombarded with information, perhaps when there are numerous traffic signs to read, vehicles turning across in front etc. and the radio is ‘on’, it is so easy to miss that pedestrian crossing from right to left. It will be argued, if the driver is taken to court, that he/she ought to have seen the pedestrain and that the pedestrain was there to be seen but if the driver is focused on events elsewhere along the road, there really isn’t much chance of the pedestrain attracting sufficient attention to be seen and noticed. Unlike warehouse workers, they rarely wear hi-vis. Inattentional blindness is behind many accidents but rarely receives the attention it deserves when understanding root causes.