Overlooked in Meatspace

Key Terms: Meatspace, Selective Memory, Change Blindness

In class we talked about what we notice and don’t notice in life.

(Here’s more videos by the same psychologist about change blindness).

Here’s the famous article and study about this “musical experiment:” This very long article won the Pulitzer Prize for best piece of journalism in that year. From the article:

The poet Billy Collins once laughingly observed that all babies are born with a knowledge of poetry, because the lub-dub of the mother’s heart is in iambic meter. Then, Collins said, life slowly starts to choke the poetry out of us. It may be true with music, too.

There was no ethnic or demographic pattern to distinguish the people who stayed to watch Bell, or the ones who gave money, from that vast majority who hurried on past, unheeding. Whites, blacks and Asians, young and old, men and women, were represented in all three groups. But the behavior of one demographic remained absolutely consistent. Every single time a child walked past, he or she tried to stop and watch. And every single time, a parent scooted the kid away.

Here’s information about the Stradivarius violin (there are only 244 around today). They have sold at auction for 2-15 million dollars. Here’s an interview with Joshua Bell about this particular violin (which is very famous and was stolen twice).

Here’s the series of SXSW diaries from which my article, Digital Convergence in the Parking Lot came.

Under the fold is your homework assignment: Overlooked in Meatspace.

Overlooked in Meatspace 

There are a lot of things which people can notice but do not.  It may be that they are too busy, too tired, too sad or just unable to see what is staring right in front of them.

Your homework: Write an essay about something or someone in meatspace which most people overlook.  It can be an object, a sound, a person, a place, a statement, a look on someone’s face,  or a location. It can be something old or new – but the most important thing is that people normally pay no attention to it anymore.

How you do it:

  1. Identify and describe the overlooked thing.
  2. Explain why people tend to overlook it
  3. Why do you find it interesting or important

Due:  Last Class day of next week (either Thursday November 6 or Friday November 7)

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