Christopher Chabris

Christopher Chabris is an American research psychologist, currently Associate Professor of Psychology and co-director of the Neuroscience Program at Union College in Schenectady, New York, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Neurology at Albany Medical College and a Research Affiliate at the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence. He is best known as the co-author (with Daniel Simons) of the popular science book The Invisible Gorilla, which presents the results of research into attention and other cognitive illusions. His research focuses on how people differ from one another in mental abilities and patterns of behavior, and how cognitive illusions affect our decisions. He has published papers on a diverse array of topics, including human intelligence, beauty and the brain, face recognition, the Mozart effectgroup performance, and visual cognition. Screen Shot 2014-08-11 at 1.06.15 PMCurrently his research interests are: Individual differences in human cognition and their relationship to brain function and structure, molecular genetics of human cognition and decision-making, cognitive and neural mechanisms of expertise, intelligence, and decision-making, Behavioral economics and cognitive biases, neurodevelopmental disorders, Visual cognition and the design of information graphics. His most recent work concerns the genetic origin of intelligence, demonstrating that many genes formerly associated with intelligence are actually false positives. Chabris is also a regular media commentator on psychology-related topics such as the theory that 10,000 hours of practice make someone an expert and that listening to Mozart makes you more intelligent.Chabris is best known outside the academic community as the co-author with Daniel Simons of the book The Invisible Gorilla, published in 2010. This title of this book refers to an earlier research project by Chabris and Simons revealing that people who are focused on one thing can easily overlook something else. To demonstrate this effect they created a video where students pass a basketball between themselves. Viewers asked to count the number of times the players with the white shirts pass the ball often fail to notice a person in a gorilla suit who appears in the center of the image (see article Invisible Gorilla test), an experiment described as “one of the most famous psychological demos ever”. Simons and Chabris were awarded an Ig Nobel Prize for the Invisible Gorilla experiment.

 

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