24 qualified radiologists were given a series of CT scans showing diseased lungs and were told to locate 10 abnormal nodules, or white lesions on the image.
On the last scan the radiologists were shown an image of a dancing gorilla was placed on the image – at 48 times larger than the nodules the radiologists were looking for.
A staggering 83 per cent of these qualified practitioners missed the image of the ape, despite looking at the scan four times on average.
According to the study the radiologists were suffering from “inattentional blindness”, a psychological phenomenon which occurs when ones brain is focused on a task and only registers what the mind considers important, or part of the job at hand.
“Researchers also determined by eye-tracking that radiologists spent 5.8 seconds looking at the scan with the gorilla, and out of the 20 radiologists who did not see the gorilla, 12 had looked directly at it,” said one of the scientists conducting the study.
Once the radiologists had been told that there was a gorilla somewhere in the sequence of scans they all found it immediately.
Perhaps even more worrying than their inability to spot a silverback gorilla amongst the nodules is the fact that only 55 per cent of those studied were able to correctly identify all the lung abnormalities on the various scans… And they were actually looking for them.
Besides if I had a gorilla on my lungs and the doctor missed it, I’d go absolutely bananas!