33voices interviews Christopher Chabris
The Invisible Gorilla
It’s very fascinating and I’m sure it’s something that is just evolving for you guys.
Yeah, it’s very gratifying to see the good reviews and to see the response and especially to hear from people who have — when people say things like, I look at X in a whole different way now. Or, I see things differently now or whatever. That’s especially what we were hoping to hear. We’re not out to change the world. We were hoping that people would really have a response where they see themselves in some of the stories and they see their own behavior in some of the experiments and so on and they think about it a little bit.
I’ll tell you, maybe you can change the world a little bit because you make some pretty compelling points.
What I’d like to do is just for the time that we have together, I really like to be able to tackle a lot of these illusions. I have to tell you, I did see the Gorilla a few years ago. I used this experiment. I used to a run a wealth management firm in the Washington D.C. area. I had a significant number of advisors. I really used it to show them your exact point; that a lot of times, we miss what’s right in front of us whether it’s serving our clients or making investment decisions or financial decisions in general.
Obviously with the book, you take it to a completely different level. Ever since reading it, I notice just in walking through my gym this morning, you encounter these things all the time. People just walk by you. You say hello to somebody and they don’t even recognize that you’re there although you’re friends with them. Ironically enough, knowing that you and I are going to speak this morning, I’ve been very attentive and it happened twice.
Well it may happen just as often when you’re not out there looking for them.
I bet. It’s really been interesting. Chris, what has been most surprising to you guys since this book has come out - and since people have … at least the ones who have embraced it the way we have? I’m starting to think differently. What’s been surprising to you guys about the outcome?
I wish had a great answer I could just throw right out at you. I think one thing that has been surprising and gratifying is the number of people who have responded and said, this is really important stuff and this is stuff that happens all the time. When we wrote the book, we really had no idea what the response was going to be. We thought it might go out there and maybe get a few reviews and that would be it. Of course, nowadays with things like Twitter and Facebook, and so on, you can sort of pay attention to what people are saying. It’s been sort of that in that sense, surprising that this sat with people and rseems to be saying something about their everyday lives and what happens in decisions they make all the time.