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Perceptual blindness, also called inattentional blindness, is the common inability to notice things that are in plain sight.

Humans have a limited capacity for attention, so the amount of information processed at any particular time is finite. To adjust for this reality, objects in our visual field that we are not actively paying attention to are often completely ignored.

Social Scientist Siri Carpenter Ph.D. explains:

“People believe that as long as our eyes are open we are seeing. Even as we recognize that the brain does a lot of processing behind the scenes, we expect that at least salient objects — a large animal in our path, for example — will capture our attention. But studies of visual perception have demonstrated how startlingly little people see.”

When applied to a zombie pandemic, perceptual blindness could cause you to not notice the zombie right in front of your face, or conversely miss vital supplies and escape routes because you are too focused on the zombie right in front of your face.

Add into the mix other panicked humans, nightmarish sounds and smells, and the realization that the world is coming to an end, and you may find it functionally impossible to focus on anything at all.

So when the undead come knocking, make sure to stay calm, breathe, and maintain a clear visual awareness of your surroundings. If not, you could be lunch sooner than you can say, “I don’t see no zombie…”

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