The Persistence of Illusion

The Persistence of Illusion | The Beautiful Brain Podcast, July 2010

“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”

This month, as our focus turns to cognitive science, we take our podcast title from the famous Einstein quote. Reality may be a persistent illusion; so is the way we think about it, says psychology researcher and author Daniel Simons.

If you’re engaged in thinking about the way you think (what researchers call “meta-cognition”) and feeling pretty confident about things, you may be fooling yourself with one of several persistent illusions detailed in Simons’ new book The Invisible Gorilla, co-authored with Christopher Chabris. From false memories to an inflated sense of knowledge, the book reveals the hubris many of us display when it comes to our own brains.

In this edition of The Beautiful Brain Podcast, Simons discusses the research behind his new book, which grew out of a simple experiment about attention (or lack thereof)– the video of which turned into a YouTube sensation.

What are some common illusions we have about our own thinking? What are the traps these illusions create in everyday life? Daniel Simons, co-creator of the original experiment and co-author of the book, discusses The Invisible Gorilla with host Noah Hutton. Total runtime: 31:40.


About the author

Noah Hutton

Noah Hutton is a filmmaker based in New York.

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