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  • Writer's pictureSapana Gupta

Do you notice the gorilla?

Imagine this: You're watching a video where two teams are passing a basketball.

Your task? Count the passes made by one team.

Seems simple, right? But what if I told you that while you're focused on counting, a person in a gorilla suit walks into the scene, pounds their chest, and exits—and you never even notice.

How could something so obvious go completely unnoticed?

This isn't a trick. It's the famous “Invisible Gorilla Experiment” by cognitive psychologists Daniel Simons and Christopher Chabris. Half of the viewers missed the gorilla entirely because their attention was so focused on counting passes, showing that:

💡we miss a LOT of what goes on around us;

💡and we have no idea that we’re missing so much.

How does this apply to intercultural communication?

In our daily interactions, we often get so wrapped up in our own norms and practices that we become blind to the cues of others. This "inattentional blindness" can lead to significant misunderstandings and missed opportunities.

⭐My tip: Practice “active observation”—take a step back and consciously look for the cultural signals you might be missing. Engage with others’ perspectives and ask open-ended questions to uncover insights beyond your immediate focus.

Have you ever missed seeing the gorilla? Have you ever been the gorilla that went unnoticed?

🔍 If you're curious to watch the video that goes with this experiment, here it is :)

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