At least that's what I thought. The part of last Sunday's column where I mentioned the Coffee would continue seemed to be equally missed by both women and men, so I did some online research to see whom we could blame. Turns out it's our brain.
Alejandro Lleras, an assistant professor in psychology, has been studying how past experiences affect what people notice, and what they unconsciously disregard as if it were never seen at all.
In his study, he found that if a person is told "to find the picture of a face among flashing images of 20 houses, the brain will create a bias against images of houses so it can spot the face." If that person is then asked to find the picture of a house among flashing images of faces, they're more likely to miss the house because of lingering bias from the previous test. It's how the brain sorts as it searches.
It's why something can be right there in front of you, yet you don't see it. The brain, affected by previous events, creates biases against certain images it deems distracting. The condition, known by researchers as "change blindness," has relevance in everyday life, especially to those whose jobs require systematic searches, like with luggage screening or computer commands.
Apparently, looking directly at something doesn't guarantee you will see it. It's a trick of the eyes, a sleight of hand of the brain.
So to those whose own body parts earlier prevented them from catching the news, I'm now gone from the paper, but Smell the Coffee isn't going away.
Reach Karin Fuller at karinful...@gmail.com, and visit her blog at blogs.wvgazette.com/karinfuller.