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Monday, March 17, 2008

This is a Test

posted by on March 17 at 17:03 PM

For the record, I failed the test. You can also take the test here.

SPOILER ALERT: Don’t read the comments thread until after you watch the video.

Thanks to Slog tipper Jess.

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awesome. I almost got hit yesterday for the zillionth time. Had my cat eye on and everything.

Posted by ZwBush | March 17, 2008 5:13 PM

But you can't moonwalk on a bicycle. And that wasn't a bear. That was a person in a bear suit. Which bicyclists don't wear. Generally. That test is stupid.

This one is not stupid.

Posted by elenchos | March 17, 2008 5:16 PM

I posted this on Freaky Friday, S.V.

Posted by DOUG. | March 17, 2008 5:19 PM

Apparently stolen but... it's all good.

Posted by umvue | March 17, 2008 5:21 PM

Sorry, elenchos, but the video you link to is way more dishonest. I've watched it three times and you CANNOT see the biker in the first shot. The man's face obscures the biker, or the biker is not there.

The dancing bear-suited man, however, is there. It's the same video. I watched it, got 13 passes, and didn't see the bear at all. I was convinced the bear couldn't have been in the first play of the video, so I watched again. And he was.

Sorry, Doug, I missed it.

Posted by Dan Savage | March 17, 2008 5:22 PM

What the hizzy!?! That shit is fly. I totally missed the bear. Like Dan, I had to watch the video again to believe that the bear was there the first time.

Posted by Papayas | March 17, 2008 5:26 PM

Duh. Dan, if he'd have seen the biker there wouldn't have been an AWESOME WRECK!

Maybe this is why Lindy West is the only one at the Stranger who goes to the movies to have a good time instead of bitch about like whether there are saber tooth tigers in Africa or if the director is ripping off fucking Milos Forman or what the fuck ever.

Posted by elenchos | March 17, 2008 5:28 PM

I'd read about this test in my psych classes, so I watched the video the first time looking for the bear instead of counting passes. Still couldn't see the bear. It just looks like someone wearing black clothes ...

Posted by Jocelyn | March 17, 2008 5:39 PM

There's a nice podcast here of a lecture by Susan Blackmore which puts this phenomena of consciousness in context.

Posted by Timrrr | March 17, 2008 5:50 PM

Umm... is it bad that I missed the bear AND only counted 12 passes?

Posted by Dawgson | March 17, 2008 5:52 PM

typical biker dark clothes and no lights

Posted by McG | March 17, 2008 5:54 PM

it's not meant to be a scientifically accurate commercial. It's just illustrating a point more rhetorically. This PSA = awesome.

Posted by mackro mackro | March 17, 2008 6:04 PM

Yes, the dishonest fraction of the commercial is that while the viewer isn't taught to be aware of m***w***ing b****, drivers are taught during driver's ed to be aware of non-vehicle entities like bikes and pedestrians.

However, the point of the commerical relies on the observation that many drivers shove the watch-out-for-bikes-and-pedestrians awareness as a lower priority thing. Having driven and having been a pedestrian, this is absolutely true - almost anywhere you are in the world.

Posted by mackro mackro | March 17, 2008 6:08 PM

I saw a similar online video a few years ago, the viewer was asked to count the basketball passes, and a guy in a gorilla suit walked through. It was so obvious, a lot more obvious than this bear suit video. And yet some people admitted they didn't see the gorilla at all on the first viewing. It's easier for me to understand how people missed the bear, because he does blend in well with the people wearing darker clothes, and we're asked to only watch the people in white.

Posted by Kristi in Kitsap | March 17, 2008 6:35 PM

saw the bear, counted the right number of passes - but admit I have had some special training to see and identify thigs

thanks Navy

Posted by John | March 17, 2008 7:11 PM

I saw the bear and grinned and assumed it was there to deliberately distract me and stopped paying attention to it. So I didn't see it moonwalk.

If it's easy to miss something I'm not looking for, then I shouldn't be looking for bicyclists...since I'm Supposed to miss them and not hit them, right? I know...I know...they're trying to make a point. It's making a better point about the reliability of witnesses though I think.

If I found myself driving in traffic that was that visually confusing I think I might just want to pull over and wait for it to sort itself out.

Posted by Bruce Garrett | March 17, 2008 7:36 PM

I wonder if the British have adopted the term "dooring"...

Posted by RainMan | March 17, 2008 7:43 PM

Fun. But it's a literal "keep your eye on the ball" scenario, which may happen sometimes on the road, but it's a terrible driver who focuses all his attention on one thing in his field of vision, anyway.

Posted by Myopia | March 17, 2008 7:44 PM

This video is not effect on You-Tube. It didn't look like a bear, even when I watched it the whole time. It looked like a guy in a hoodie. Or maybe the people in hoodies looked like bears.

This, however, is the fault of crap internet videos, not the commercial.

Posted by exelizabeth | March 17, 2008 7:51 PM

Yeah I thought it was just a player on the black team even on the replay. I had to stare at it to see it as a bear.

Posted by zzyzx | March 17, 2008 8:15 PM

for this ad to actually be relevant to any seattle experience, the bear would have to actually cross the screen when everyone was stationary and then hit the camera and then blame YOU while they ran the red light.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | March 17, 2008 8:50 PM

It's a smart video.

Posted by me | March 17, 2008 8:52 PM

Had the bear done some pass interference, then the Sonics would not have to get out of town, and the bicycle guy that ran the stop sign (cuz, ya know, he can see there are no cars)would not have been hit by the other cyclist that pulled the same stunt coming the other way. I would have seen the bad moonwalk too.

Posted by Sargon Bighorn | March 17, 2008 9:06 PM

Thankfully, I've never hit a bicyclist in a bear suit.

Which leads me to believe that perhaps costumed bicyclists take more precautions against people like me.

Posted by NapoleonXIV | March 17, 2008 9:26 PM

I got the number of passes right, but had to rewind and watch twice to see the bear. I bet it would be more effective on a TV instead of my tiny laptop.

Posted by Jo | March 17, 2008 9:49 PM

Bear.... will you accept this rose?

Posted by M | March 17, 2008 10:49 PM

Suzie the bear, Sorrow floats and cutting off your tongue to dis male chauvinism - John Irving would love this. Arp!

Posted by RHETT ORACLE | March 17, 2008 11:12 PM

I won! 13. They didn't tell me to look for a bear. Who gives a shit about bears? I don't.

Posted by Jason Josephes | March 17, 2008 11:20 PM

I've been hit by cyclists twice while walking across a street.

Posted by jeffg166 | March 18, 2008 4:06 AM

I guess I lose, then; I've only been hit by a cyclist once. On a sidewalk.

Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty | March 18, 2008 7:18 AM

Fucking awesome video.

I suspect elenchos is being uncharacteristically grumpy because I believe (and correct me if I'm misremembering this, e) that he (like I) rides a motorcycle. And thus gets tired of *constantly* avoiding car crashes with people who just plain old don't see us, despite the fact that we obey all the same driving laws that they do (unlike many bicyclists.) It just... gets... old.

Posted by Big Sven | March 18, 2008 7:37 AM

...and yes, that is a Hillary Clinton sticker on the battery shroud.

Posted by Big Sven | March 18, 2008 7:39 AM

I've been "hooked" twice and "doored" once while riding with both front and rear lights. I win?

Posted by iwanttobealion | March 18, 2008 7:40 AM

Oh, not Sven, what I'm sick of the damn bears. Well, fakey bears that can't dance. And people who can't enjoy a simple movie without picking it apart.

No, seriously. Seriously this time: motorcyclists have a terrible time seeing other motorcyclists. You don't see them hit each other as much, but there aren't that many of them. It's because they are concentrating at looking for threats. Same as the car drivers.

And same as the bicyclists. That's why they hit pedestrians so much, and often each other. Everyone is most sensitive to the thing that will hurt them, cars and trucks, and they are never going to overcome that in order to also see a lot of non-threats.

That is human nature and 100,000 pubic service announcements won't change that.

Posted by elenchos | March 18, 2008 8:01 AM

And I've been meaning to ask you about your bike...

Posted by elenchos | March 18, 2008 8:11 AM


I agree that even I don't always see other bikes, and I actively seek them out because I want that little bit of personal validation that comes from giving and getting the "down low, sideways v" hand signal. 'Cause I'm shallow.

Should it bother me that many of the H-D riders won't give me the signal because I'm not riding an American bike? Nope. Does it? Oh yes.

Posted by Big Sven | March 18, 2008 8:59 AM

@21, SO TRUE

Posted by D | March 18, 2008 9:22 AM

that link to the one with the guy in the car is stupid. the bike comes out of nowhere to us because we aren't in the driver's seat. unless our passenger was blocking our view; we, as the driver, would have seen that bike speeding past..

Posted by fs | March 18, 2008 3:00 PM

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