“The Purloined Letter” Lives

You will recall from Poe’s “The Purloined Letter,” a story that has received a great deal of theoretical attention the past few decades, including a lengthy piece by the philosopher Jacques Derrida, that the best way to hide something is to place it in plain sight.  That is, many people do not see what is right in front of them, perhaps especially when they imagine that the thing they are looking for would be hidden.

In an experiment that you can watch below, the experimental space is labeled with a big sign, indicating that the experiment is happening where the sign is:  “Experiment here.”  Yet, 75% of the people in the experiment do not notice a few things that we (those who know what is happening) might consider obvious.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s