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#2. Classic attention experiment (1-minute video)

Let’s try this fun experiment, conceived by Simons and Chabris for their classic study on sustained inattentional blindness.

–>You will watch a brief video clip, and your challenge is to count how many times that the players wearing white pass the basketball. 



Next brain teaser in SharpBrains’ top 25 series:

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125 Responses

  1. micky says:

    i counted 24

  2. Eric says:

    I watched the video several times, noticed the gorilla at some point, and had a nice laugh. But throughout I was hyper-focused on counting every last pass. Because the question was solely asking how many times the balls were passed, that was what I focused on. The thought that the whole point was that I might be so focused on counting the basketballs that I might miss something as ridiculous as the gorilla unexpectedly appearing did not even begin to cross my mind during the exercise. Even after I read several of your replies that were notably not mentioning how many times the balls were actually passed, Alvaro,
    I still thought it was of some importance that I figure out how many times the balls were actually passed. ^_^

    I sometimes grow so focused on specific details that I miss other potentially important happenings.

    Seeing how I handled the exercise, then discovering its true purpose has helped me to better conceptualize what is happening when I become overly focused on details.

    Sometimes individual details are important enough to merit one’s entire focus. But only sometimes, and it is important to have a feel for which details to focus on at what times, I think.

    Thank you for devoting so much of your time to this site. I’ve found it to be much fun, very useful, and easy to use!

  3. Jhon says:

    Wow, i was concentrating hard on the counts when the gorilla appeared and it was just so random, i started cracking up, i watched it a second time and ignored the gorilla and counted 27 passes

  4. P-Rod says:

    yo sup

    i counted like 30 passes

  5. Eric, thank you for your great comment. That’s the right lesson: being aware of how our minds work can enable us to choose the right focus for our very scarce resource – attention.

  6. tak says:

    tried three times and counted 27, 35, 30….and did notice the gorilla but if you waste time noticing the gorilla your score will drop anyway. too many people ‘blocking’. What IS the right answer

  7. jules says:

    I can’t believe nobody saw the giraffe and I counted two passes.

  8. dawn riggs says:

    25 + gorilla

  9. Seyran says:

    I saw the Gorilla, and i counted 34.

  10. manan says:

    i saw the gorilla… n counted 38 passes/// wats the rite answer???

  11. LILI says:


  12. patrick says:

    it was 33 times

  13. jean says:

    Iwa too tired to wait for it to load so I started reading. I think there must be S’s on the wall, a gorilla, not sure on whether I believe about the giraffe and there were abunch of yahoos throwing a ball. The thing I don’t understand is what is the big deal about passing only to the same shirt colors? Duh isn’t that what basketball is all about? Now if the white shirts were passing to the black shirts that would have been all wrong. They’d never win the game! Who cares how many passes there were, it got alot of people talking to each other without yelling and even laughing God forbid. This was rather enlightening even though I didn’t watch the clip.

  14. April says:

    I am getting my Master’s in Adult Ed. and I was taking a class called Learning theories and we were discussing perception and attention that the student receive from there material based on the objectives. The instructor of my class showed this video when discussing this section of the class. Before playing the video she instructed us to count the number of times the ball passed between the people in the white. (this was our objective) and so as the student all I was focused on the first time she played the video was the white shirts, so I did not notice the gorilla. 95% of the class had the same response. This was discoverd after she played the video again and told us to focus on the number of times the ball passed among the people in black. This is when the gorilla was noticed. In the first showing of the video the class was only trying to obtain the information that the teacher requested. This was a very interesting activity and I wish the previous people would have had that same experience. I know that this experiment will not work once youv’e seen the video.

  15. N says:

    I counted 33 passes and noticed the gorilla – I find it hard to believe that so many people would not notice it.

  16. Deloris says:

    29 – 30 times

  17. Deloris says:

    I only saw the gorilla after I went back to watch it without counting the passes. The first time I watched it twice and counted 24 then 29 times and never saw the gorilla. So I guess with watching the ball I did not see the gorilla and with watching for the gorilla I couldn’t count the number of passes. One thing at a time, I guess.

  18. Brian K says:

    Man I feel like such a tard for cheating and looking at the answer first, but I counted 34.

  19. Nessy says:

    my teacher loves this site, i like the gurilla, how many times did tyhey actually pass the ball i got like 30 times.?

  20. ricardo says:

    i counted 31 passes but at the end of the video 1 pass is about to happen but the video stops so its 31

  21. sorcha says:

    got distracted by the gorilla couldnt keep count of the basketballs

  22. Gaurav says:

    I counted 27 for the first time and didn’t noticed the gorilla however after reading the comments i saw that video again and noticed the gorilla and noticed 29 passes.

    Just wanted to know Personal who observed gorrila first time are less stressed? Wats ur view on this.?

  23. Margaret says:

    I totally lost count when the gorilla came in. Then I just watched the gorilla and stopped counting. lol

  24. Karma says:

    I counted 29 passes and briefly noticed the gorilla… but I wanted to count the passes so I didn’t watch him much. I’m not even sure if he got the ball :p

  25. Hedin R Joensen says:

    I counted 32 hand-offs and 1 raged gorilla.
    I counted the hand-offs by focusing on both basketballs at the same time and remembering who had the ball the last time I checked…

    I cannot assume that I counted correctly. Does anyone know the ‘actual’ number of hand-offs ?


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