Do the preparation task first. Then watch the video and do the exercise. Remember you can read the transcript at any time.
Brian Scholl, Yale University: Today we are going to play a game specifically designed to test your spatial awareness. Meet the Brain Games Double Dutch team. Now what does jumping rope have to do with the brain? Well Double Dutch requires off the chart spatial awareness. And today these kids are going to help us test yours. For this game, all you have to do is keep track of the number of times that either of the girls in green, jumps. You’ll count each time one of them lands a jump like this ...
Double Dutch team: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
Brian Scholl: As you can see these jumpers are pretty quick on their feet so you’re going to have to pay attention to keep up. When the whistle blows start counting … Ready? Go!
So, how many jumps did the green team make? Did you say 38? If so, you agreed with 40% of our test audience.
Now, some of you may be on to us but for those of you who aren’t. Did you happen to notice anything else going on during the Double Dutch? Maybe a giant chicken strolling right through the middle of the set and doing a funky chicken dance? Now some of you may have missed that funky chicken, but many of you probably saw it, and that's OK, because the chicken was just there to distract you too. Here’s the real question. What colour was the wall behind the Double Dutch game? Here’s a hint, it wasn’t the same colour it was at the end, as it was when they started jumping. The back wall was changing colour the entire time, from bright blue to bright red. Nearly everyone misses it, but why? It turns out that there’s far too much information coming in through the eyes at any given moment for the brain to fully process all of it. As a result the brain has to act like a spotlight, focusing our attention on some parts of the scene but not others.
Now, most of you were probably paying attention to the jumpers and some of you may have suspected that something strange was going to happen so you saw the chicken but you probably weren’t paying attention to the back wall and what we don’t pay attention to, we don’t see. And er hey, for those of you who managed to catch everything so far, did you notice that we also swapped the rope turners out, halfway through? Gotcha!
© National Geographic
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Have you got good spatial awareness? Did you spot the chicken?!