Did you catch that? In episode 66, Katherine Wood from the University of Illinois discusses her research with the scientist behind the famous “Invisible Gorilla” experiments, Daniel Simons, into if and when people notice unexpected objects in inattentional blindness tasks. She discusses her and Simons’ article “Now or never: Noticing occurs early in sustained inattentional blindness” which they published on November 20, 2019 in the open-access journal Royal Society Open Science



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Hosts / Producers

Doug Leigh & Ryan Watkins

How to Cite

Leigh, D., Watkins, R., & Wood, K.. (2020, January 21). Parsing Science – Hiding in Plain Site. figshare. https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.11691765


What’s The Angle? by Shane Ivers


Katherine Wood: If we want to enhance the subset of information we’re hoping to attend to we have to turn down the volume on all of the irrelevant information.

Doug Leigh: This is Parsing Science, the unpublished stories behind the world’s most compelling science, as told by the researcher themselves. I’m Doug Leigh.

Ryan Watkins: And I’m Ryan Watkins. Today, in episode 66 of Parsing Science, we’re joined by Katherine Wood from the University of Illinois’ Department of Psychology. She’ll talk with us about her research with Daniel Simons into if – and when – people notice unexpected objects in their visual field when they’re focused on other tasks.

Wood: Hi, I am Katherine Wood. I am in my final year of my doctoral studies at the University of Illinois. I was born and raised in Sacramento, California, and I went to University of California Berkeley for my undergrad degree. I did that degree in psychology, and got my first exposure to research in Dr. David Whitney’s lab. I fell in love with the process and all of its highs and lows, and when I was applying to graduate schools and looking at advisors that I wanted to work with I focused mostly on their areas of research, and vetting whether those areas lined up with my interests. And there was one faculty member at the University of Illinois who just seemed like a complete perfect fit with his areas of interest: what he was interested in, what I was interested in. And I was like, “Perfect! I’m gonna shoot him an email, introduce myself, explain my areas of interest, and see if he is taking students.” And it was only later after I had sent that email that I realized I had sent it to the Daniel Simons, who first did that Invisible Gorilla experiment. And I had a bit of a moment of panic: “Oh my god! I emailed Daniel Simons and asked if he was taking students. What do I think I’m doing?” But we hit it off right away, and we were interested in a lot of the same things. He’s an advisor with a really broad array of interests. And I also love studying attention and vision from a bunch of different angles, and so he ended up being a perfect person to work with to pursue my sometimes-unorthodox approaches to experiments. So I moved to Illinois right after undergrad to start working with Dan, where I have been ever since.

Leigh: For a while now, I’ve thought of “distraction” as just another form of attention, but toward something that we didn’t intend … to attend to. So I was glad to have the chance to ask Katherine – whose research focus is in attention and failures of awareness – if this is more or less right.

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