A few days ago a psychologist named Ulric Neisser died. I never met Ulric, but I did read much of his work when I was an undergraduate, including this wonderful monograph on John Dean’s distorted memory during the Watergate Scandal.
Neisser also carried out some wonderful work into perception, and created one of the first videos demonstrating the power of inattentional blindness. In the Neisser video you have to count the number of basketball passes made by the team wearing white shirts…..
….and you miss….well, you know what. It was this video that inspired Dan Simons to make his wonderful basketball video…..
….in which you miss…you know what. And Dan’s video was one of the main sources of motivation behind me making my colour changing card trick video…..
….in which you miss….well, you know what.
And that’s what great about science. Your work doesn’t die with you, but instead leaves a lasting legacy for future generations. In many ways, you live forever. Ulric, your work showed that people often don’t see what is right in front of their eyes. We shall miss you too.