NPR reports the startling news that people who train their attention on a search for something, will often overlook other objects in the search process!
In other words, what we're thinking about — what we're focused on — filters the world around us so aggressively that it literally shapes what we see. And so, Drew says, we need to think carefully about the instructions we give to professional searchers like radiologists or people looking for terrorist activity, because what we tell them to look for will in part determine what they see and don't see.Which is a classic statement of the "No shit, Sherlock!" variety. And the fact that it comes from a scientist makes it even funnier. Not because science is immediately suspect or once again, by this tiny example, proven flawed and broken. But really: this is an insight? We needed a carefully controlled scientific study to tell us that you find what you're looking for, and overlook evidence hiding in plain sight? I mean, we even have phrases for that, like: "Hiding in plain sight."
Anyone with a passing knowledge of detective stories, or even a literary education, could have told these guys you see what you are looking for, and overlook whatever doesn't fit your expectations. There's yet another saying for the related problem of a narrow vision that sees only what it allows itself to see: "To the man with a hammer, the whole world looks like a nail."
Science marches on!