Hide the aliens from the eyes of people can “gorilla effect”

Earthlings have not yet discovered the aliens for the same reason that people who are closely following an event do not notice what is happening right in front of their nose, neurophysiologists say.

“When we think of” brothers by reason, “we present them to ourselves as imagination and reason can draw them.We do not understand how much the perception of the world, unique to man, limits our possibilities, and it is difficult for us to recognize this. tried to go beyond this framework and imagine intelligent beings living beyond the possible, “- said Gabriel de la Torre (Gabriel de la Torre) from the University of Cadiz (Spain).

Invisible space screen

More than half a century ago, the American astronomer Frank Drake developed a formula for calculating the number of civilizations in the Galaxy, with whom contact is possible, trying to assess the chances of discovering extraterrestrial intelligence and life.

The physicist Enrico Fermi, in response to a sufficiently high estimate of the chances of interplanetary contact by Drake’s formula, formulated a thesis now known as the Fermi paradox: if there are so many alien extraterrestrials, why does humanity not observe any of their tracks?

This paradox scientists have tried to solve in many ways, the most popular of which is the hypothesis of the “unique Earth”. It says that for the emergence of intelligent beings, unique conditions are necessary, in fact, a complete copy of our planet.

Other astronomers believe that we can not communicate with aliens because the galactic civilizations either disappear too fast for us to notice them, or because they actively hide the fact of their existence from humanity.

De la Torre and his colleague Manuel Garcia, neurophysiologists by education, offered their original explanation of the Fermi paradox, which links the apparent absence of extraterrestrial intelligence to processes in space but to psychology and the features of the human brain.

They came to this conclusion after an experiment in which 137 volunteers were asked to find various man-made structures, such as bridges, houses or roads, on satellite photographs of the area. In some of these photographs, in addition to real objects, there was an almost imperceptible, but very “bright” anomaly – a microscopic photograph of a gorilla.

Shore perception

In a normal situation, people almost always notice such objects. As shown by the experiments of de la Torre and Garcia, the concentration of attention on some other details of the image makes such “gorillas” invisible to the eyes of 66% of volunteers.

This phenomenon, known as the “gorilla effect”, was discovered about 20 years ago by American psychologists. They noticed that students counting passes between players of the same team in a basketball match do not notice how a boy in a gorilla costume appears among them. As it turned out, something similar is happening to people who are trying to find traces of “intelligent life” in photographs, relying only on their own ideas about the capabilities and appearance of its carriers.

Most interesting, people with a rational mindset, inclined to systematize knowledge, who are almost all scientists, were more exposed to this. This, according to Garcia and de la Torre, says that we are looking for traces of extraterrestrial intelligence not where they really can be, but where they seem to be present.

For example, today astronomers and other scientists engaged in the search for aliens ignore the fact that extraterrestrial intelligence can have a fundamentally different nature. Aliens can live in several dimensions, consist of dark matter or some other exotic forms of matter, use fundamentally different ways of transferring information, including gravitational waves, to communicate with other civilizations.

For this reason, humanity first of all should concentrate not on searching for extraterrestrial life similar to our civilization, but to understand how we can establish contact with beings that are beyond our ordinary perception and understanding of how a rational being can look. In other words, a “blind” search for extraterrestrial intelligence can yield more results than other attempts to find it, scientists conclude.

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