A team of psychologists from the University of Cádiz have added their criticisms of S.E.T.I. methodology to those of a growing number of scientists

Some of you may know the psychological experiment in which viewers are asked to watch a video showing a group of people passing a ball around and attempt to count the passes, at one stage during the video a man wearing a gorilla suit walks through the scene. A great many people are so intensely focused on the details of what they have been expecting to see, a ball being passed around, that they fail to notice the man in the gorilla suit.

Now, a team of researchers from Spain have voiced concerns that humanity’s attempts to track down advanced alien life are being derailed by the same type of psychological blindness. The team suggest that astronomers are so focussed on detecting intelligent beings through non-earthly radio signals that they are likely to miss signs of life manifesting themselves in dimensions that typically escape our perception, perhaps through quantum phenomena, higher dimensional physics or even dark energy.

The new paper published in the journal Acta Astronautica by neuropsychologists Gabriel de la Torre and Manuel García from the University of Cádiz argues that the preoccupation with extraterrestrial radio signals might be a complete distraction from the more likely phenomenon associated with advanced life beyond our planet.

The authors of the paper conducted an experiment with 137 people who had to distinguish aerial photographs with artificial structures and natural elements, included in one of the images was a character disguised as a gorilla – around half of the subjects failed to notice this highly irregular inclusion.

While it is fascinating to see how our psychology and neural processes can limit that which we perceive, the experiment also revealed something else just as important, if not more so.

“In addition, our surprise was greater, since before doing the test to see the inattentional blindness, we assessed the participants with a series of questions to determine their cognitive style—whether they were more intuitive or rational—and it turned out that the intuitive individuals identified the gorilla in our photo more often than those more rational and methodical subjects,” said De la Torre.

Stop and consider this for a moment, rational scientists with their heavily structured thinking and predefined expectations are the people most unlikely to detect any anomalous communication from an advanced extraterrestrial civilisation. Meanwhile, the highly intuitive members of society are the ones almost certain to stumble on such a signpost. This is something of a revelation because while scientists continue to argue there is no sign of ET beings, intuitive members of the public have long been claiming that such signs do exist and are only not being recognised by the academic community!

Pareidolia can cause us to see a face in this Martian crater. Image Credit: NASA JPL

De la Torre explains that while we tend to see order where there is none, such as the tendency to see faces in random patterns, known as pareidolia, it may also be that the opposite effect is occurring in the search for alien life.

“We can have the signal in front of us and not perceive it or be unable to identify it. If this happened, it would be an example of the cosmic gorilla effect. In fact, it could have happened in the past, or it could be happening right now.”

Indeed, it is my absolute conviction that this blindness is not merely something that might occur but has been happening for a very long time and continues to occur at this very moment in history. We have already received contact from at least one (perhaps more) advanced alien intelligence. The problem is that these ET beings are so advanced that searching for their radio wave transmissions is illogical, they will not be using radio signals as this is an extremely primitive method for communication.

To better understand the current situation we should consider the descriptions of two orders of civilisation detailed by the Spanish research team. Firstly a Type 2 civilisation is characterised by the longevity of its members, who would be in control of quantum and gravitational energy, manage space-time and be out exploring other galaxies. Secondly, a Type 3 civilisation would comprise exotic beings with eternal life, capable of creating in multidimensional and multiverse spaces, and with an absolute dominion of dark energy and matter.

Beings associated with either of these higher levels of civilisation certainly won’t be calling us on their ham radio rigs, nor flinging a tin can on a string towards us.

What signs of attempted contact should we then be looking for, and why do I firmly state that such communication is already underway?

The activities of Type 2 and Type 3 civilisations would without any doubt involve quantum phenomena, they would not be limited to the processes we know through Newtonian physics or classical mechanics. We should be looking out for a bizarre event that contradicts the current common consensus view of physical reality. For example, we might expect godlike beings that can present themselves directly into the brains of selected intuitive contactees and there announce their presence, without even leaving their home star systems.

Cosmic beings might instead remotely display manifestations of their advanced technology by modifying the workings of our local reality in front of multiple witnesses. Perhaps they could cause objects to pop out of nowhere and then morph through incredible transformations, a sphere of light to a being, a being into a metal craft, before vanishing from our perception once again.

In other words, we should be looking for the very phenomena that have been regularly described by thousands of people (usually highly intuitive people) for tens of thousands of years!

Contact is not something in our near future, it has been underway for a vast period, we have only failed to widely acknowledge this fact. The phone is still ringing, will we pick it up?


A cosmic gorilla effect could blind the detection of aliens – phys.org

The cosmic gorilla effect or the problem of undetected non terrestrial intelligent signals – sciencedirect.com