Some fights vanish in plain sight | Science News



Support credible science journalism.

Subscribe to Science News today.


Some fights vanish in plain sight

Dramatic but unexpected events often get missed

11:31am, June 16, 2011

Bare-knuckled brawlers sometimes have to fight to be seen. College students chasing a person across campus frequently don’t notice two guys beating up a lone victim in plain sight, a new set of experiments finds.

That result has real-world implications, say psychologist Christopher Chabris of Union College in Schenectady, N.Y., and his colleagues. Consider a Boston police officer who was sentenced to prison in 1998 because jurors didn’t believe his claim that, while running after a murder suspect, he passed but didn’t see fellow officers pummeling a misidentified suspect.

Science can’t determine what the Beantown cop actually saw, but his story was

This article is available only to subscribing members. Join the Society today or Log in.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from Science News

From the Nature Index Paid Content