How many animals of each kind did Moses take on the Ark?
Two animals of each kind right?
If you are like most people, that answer popped up in your mind within a split second. This is what phycologists call the Moses Illusion because: “Moses didn’t take any animals on the Ark. That was Noah.”
This experiment is quite famous and I believe first explored by Erickson and Mattson somewhere in the early eighties. Why now this subject? Well, I am reading ‘Thinking, Fast and Slow‘ by Daniel Kahneman. My father gave it to me for my 34th birthday. Although I am only at page 80, it’s already became clear to me that this is a very interesting book.
He speaks about your brain functioning in two different systems. System 1 and System 2. System 1 thinks fast and jumps to conclusions. System 2 thinks slow, needs to validate and rationalise, doesn’t trust things that much but – and here is the ‘problem’ – is also a quite lazy.
When you were happy with your answer “2” on the opening question, this was typically system 1 at work. Quickly coming up with a conclusion, not validating (that would be system 2) and move on, never knowing that you were completely wrong. Don’t worry, we are all subject to a set of reliable biases and illusions. Not just you.
Already I believe this is a brilliant book. It gives you great insight in how the brain works. He brings in his now research and that of many other psychologists and other scientists.
This world famous experiment by Professor Daniel Simons and Christopher Chabris for example where you have to count the number of times a group of people passes the ball to each other. I’d seen it before, but if you don’t (lucky you) have a look at it. Enjoy 🙂
Did you see it? It’s funny that when you know the film, there is no way you cannot see it even when I focus as hard as I can on the task. It’s hard to believe that anyone wouldn’t see it. It’s so obvious!
And here is the book cover. Click on it to buy it on amazon (yes affiliated)