The Invisible Gorilla Rhetorical Analysis

Subject: Psychology
Type: Analytical Essay
Pages: 6
Word count: 1715
Topics: Self Esteem, Book, Human Nature, Memory

Human beings hold distorted beliefs concerning the mind that is not only wrong but also dangerous (Christopher & Simons 5). Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons wrote ‘’The Invisible Gorilla: And Other Ways Our Intuitions Deceive Us’’ in 2010. They argue that understanding mind illusions helps individuals in viewing the world differently and think more clearly about the world. Knowing illusions enables an individual to understand when people want to take advantage of illusions in persuading or complicating things. The author’s primary assertion in the Invisible Gorilla is that understanding the illusions will enable people to connect with reality.

The illusion of attention

In this section, the author concentrates on the general perception of the mind, and the way brain tricks people into psychological illusions. The author sets the stage by conducting a psychology experiment referred to as the ‘’Gorilla Experiment’’. It is interesting to realize that despite the fact that individuals think they see everything happening around them, that is only an illusion that gives people a chance of just seeing a small part of the entire perspective (Christopher & Simons 8). An interesting quote, “We think we should see anything in front of us, but in fact, we are aware of only a small portion of our visual world at any moment. The idea that we can look but not see is flatly incompatible with how we understand our minds, and this mistaken understanding can lead to incautious or rash decisions’’ (Christopher & Simons 13). It is a notable quote since it is aimed at making individuals reflect on their psychological status as well as the times of situations they have experienced this illusion. For instance, individuals see very little of what is happening on the roads and assume that they are very safe. This quote ought to make individuals more cautious while interacting in a risky environment. Another quote is “We experience far less of our visual world than we think we do’’ (Christopher & Simons 7). Individuals believe that they fully experience the world around them. However, it is clear that people miss more than they experience. This is evident in the video whereby the audience missed the gorilla. Through this illusion of attention, the authors try to explain how much of the environment is experienced by individuals.

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The illusion of memory

The author’s tries to show that individuals do not only forget but can remember something that never took place. The chapter emphasis on individual memory as well as its illusions. There exists a disconnection concerning individuals’ thinking, the manner in which the memory works, and its functionality. The author argues that individuals think that memories are filled with all their experiences, which are permanently stored in the brains despite the fact that they cannot be accessed. The author’s talks about real life situations whereby individuals involved have their memory illusions reflecting a major contrast amid what people think they remember and the actual thing remembered (Christopher & Simons 60).  The authors talk about people noticing mistakes in movies. The failure of noting something that is obvious when changes occur is termed as transformation blindness. Individuals are visionless when it comes to variations amid whatever happened before and what is happening now. “In attentional blindness usually happens when we fail to notice the appearance of something we weren’t expecting to see. The thing we miss, such as a gorilla, is fully visible, right in front of us the entire time. For change blindness, unless we remember that Julia Roberts was eating a croissant, the fact that she is now eating a pancake is unremarkable. Change blindness occurs when we fail to compare what’s there now with what was there before.” (Christopher & Simons 55).  The quote is reflective of how individuals fail to notice obvious things. It is an implication of the way brains fail to remember small details as well as its failure of recognizing changes. This reveals the level at which human brain concentrates, which is not known by many.  Another quote is ‘’apparently, not only do we misremember things, we can plagiarize other people’s memories’’ (Christopher & Simons 62). This quote implies that individuals hear stories and later internalize them assuming that they happened to themselves. Understanding of this illusion can make individuals start doubting memoirs.

The illusion of confidence

The author’s focuses on the way individuals take self-confidence as an authentic signal of an individual’s specialized skills, good remembrance as well as their knowledge. However, confidence is just an illusion. Confidence makes people make overestimations of their qualities as well as abilities when compared to the other individuals.  Interpretation of confidence regarding abilities as well as skills makes it an illusion or even a problem. The truth is confidence, as well as the ability, can deviate so much hence relying making relying on confidence a mental trap which can result in serious consequences. The majority of individuals have overestimated their abilities and hence becoming victims of confidence illusion. The quote “Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than doe’s knowledge.” (Christopher & Simons 86). It contributes greatly to the authors’ talk. Their egos lead individuals without assessing themselves and making comparisons with individuals of the same rank. This can be called ignorance that is experienced by many people every day. However, people do not create time to make appropriate assumptions and hence correcting themselves, which can make them good people. Another quote is “following only from a retrospective narrative bias and not from an experiment.” (Christopher & Simons 171). The quote indicates one the various illusions that people fall prey. The majority of the extrovert individuals reveals a lot of confidence as compared to the introverts. This leaves behind the questions whether such confidence results in into competence. However, statistics reveal that both extroverts and introverts have the same competence when it comes to the accomplishment of tasks. 

The illusion of knowledge

The author’s emphasis on the way individuals overestimate what they know concerning predictions through thinking that they know more than what they know. Due to long-time interactions with machines as well as tools, individuals tend to assume that they have enough knowledge in regards to how such tools operate (Christopher & Simons 130). Use of small activities in revealing the way illusion of knowledge influences individuals is fascinating. The author engages the readers in certain activities to prove the way illusion of knowledge cheats people. One of the fascinating quotes “You mistake your knowledge of what happens for an understanding of why it happens, and you mistake your feelings of familiarity for genuine knowledge.” (Christopher & Simons 122). It gives an understanding as well as the knowledge regarding things done on a daily basis by individuals. This quote gives a better understanding of the functioning of human anatomy as well as the functioning of the brain. The quote helps in reflecting on the things that individuals think they know how they work when do not know the mechanism behind how they work. Another quote is “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future” (Christopher & Simons 125). This is an indication that intuitions deceive people. This is because individuals with knowledge may say something that there are 50 % chances of tomorrow being a sunny day. On the contrary, individuals who do not know the limit can give a wrong prediction. Nevertheless, individuals with proper knowledge in regards to the area may become victim to the misapprehension of knowledge. The depth of understanding among different individuals is shallow. Individuals can exhaust their knowledge very fast (Christopher & Simons 127). The author tries to show how individuals think that they have sufficient information about something and yet they have only vague information.

Counter paragraph

The book looks like it overpromises individuals to seeing the veils, which distort the way in which they perceive themselves and link them with the reality. For example, consider a religious instance discussion whereby the believers view Virgin Mary in their daily objects. The authors of the invisible gorilla argue that there is evidence of misperceptions in that there can be activation of individuals brains by pictures that vaguely look like what they are adjusted for (Christopher & Simons 156). Nevertheless, can there be a possibility that the Virgin Mary detections are just evidence of strong religious beliefs? If this is the situation, why then take an assumption that such a phenomenon applies to all individuals? The authors made use of George Bush misstatement concerning his instantaneous reaction to reveal the way memory is just a mere illusion. However, Bush admitted that he had watched television as the first airplane landed on the plane. This could not have happened since there was no video showing the first plane crashing for several months. It could be that Bush was wrong and maybe that implies that memory is an illusion. Nevertheless, it is just likely that Bush was revolving the story only for a political purpose.


The author’s primary assertion in the Invisible Gorilla is that understanding the illusions will enable people to connect with reality. The mind has tricked individuals and they, tend to assume that they know a lot concerning the world yet they know nothing (Christopher & Simons 78). The majority are the victims of illusions to the extent that they cannot remember things they have heard yet they can remember things that never happened.  Illusions have tricked people in that they can paraphrase someone idea and make it theirs. 

Additionally, people tend to assume that they have a lot of knowledge concerning something. In the real sense, they have vague knowledge. Individuals are egoistic and tend to look down others due to the illusion that they know a lot. Confidence has always been confused with skills and competence (Christopher & Simons 135). This happens due to the illusion of certainty whereby individuals with confidence are assumed to have professional skills as well as abilities. Nevertheless, this is just an illusion as both introverts and extroverts deliver the same according to statistics. However, these illusions can be questioned since not all people are the same. According to the authors, understanding of these illusions will enable individuals to see life in the reality and stop living in fantasy world.

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  1. Chabris, Christopher F, and Daniel J. Simons. The Invisible Gorilla: And Other Ways Our Intuitions Deceive Us. New York: Crown, 2010. Internet resource.
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