Don’t Ignore the Invisible Gorilla

Two gorillas fighting with light sabers

Humans are crap at multitasking. There I said it. I’m not talking chewing bubble gum and walking at the same time, but the real stuff–like trying to talk to someone while you’re reading a book. People chortle on about how great they are at multitasking but, believe me, they are lying to themselves (and, more importantly, you).

Cover of the Invisible Gorilla
And the Gorilla was like: “Huh. Did you know they sell bananas at the JLC now?” And Chris Moorhead was like: “My lawyer told me not to talk about it.”

In fact, a study was done by two professors at the University of Illinois into our ability to process information, in an experiment now dubbed “The Invisible Gorilla,” to show how people can miss important information if they’re too focused on one specific task. Essentially, participants were asked to watch a video of people dressed in white shirts and black shirts and to count how many times people with white shirts passed a basketball. About halfway through the video, someone dressed in a gorilla suit walks through the screen, thumps their chest and growls, finally exiting stage left. When asked afterwards, participants could normally tell you how many passes were made, but over half the participants had no idea a gorilla had walked through the stage. More importantly, when the tape was shown to them again they couldn’t believe they’d missed something so obvious. I’m going to be honest with you, I totally missed the gorilla too when I watched the video the first time.

This might seem like just a kooky psych experiment, but I think it holds particular import right now as we close in on October 6th. Here in Ontario, there is a gorilla beating his chest in the middle of the screen and, somehow, a ton of us have missed it.

Let me take you back to the 90s. Remember those times? The Leafs weren’t terrible yet, Saved by the Bell and Fresh Prince were still on TV. Life was pretty good. Except there was this man named Mike Harris in charge. A man who thought it was a dumb idea to provide funding for things like schools and hospitals, so he chopped and slashed and closed a bunch of them down. Remember that guy? Remember how we promised ourselves we would never, ever vote for the party that gutted our social services? If so, why are some 34% of Ontarians considering voting for the Progressive Conservatives next week?

Tim Hudak's face on a gorilla
The size of his cranium indicates he’d make a good leader. Either that or he’s ready to mate.

Despite what you think of Dalton or Andrea, the most terrifying proposition here is Tim “I Love Mike Harris” Hudak. If you can believe it, before being elected the head of the PC Party in Ontario, Hudak’s platform was essentially that he was a proud Harrisite. Oh good gravy, Mike Harris is back and he’s wearing a Tim Hudak suit.

Through the constant “We Can’t Afford Dalton” commercials, to the conservative candidates not showing up to local debates, the Conservatives are clearly running a pretty simple campaign–don’t look at the man behind the curtain.

My only hope is that when Ontarians step into the voter box on the 6th they aren’t so busy counting how many passes are made to miss the man in the Hudak suit, thumping his chest directly in front of us.

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