Alexandra Horowitz: "On Looking"

 - (AP Photo/Fabian Bimmer)

(AP Photo/Fabian Bimmer)

Alexandra Horowitz: "On Looking"

Studies have found we miss 80 percent of what's going on around us. A cognitive scientist on improving observation skills: how to see, hear and feel more of our surroundings.

Studies show that the average person doesn’t notice 80 percent of what’s going on around him. Scientists say our lack of attention to detail has an evolutionary basis: it allowed early humans to quickly identify life-threatening situations. But this selective attention means we tune out most of what’s happening near us. A cognitive scientist thought she saw and heard everything on her daily walks around the block. But she learned how much she was missing after taking those walks with 11 experts, including a geologist, a naturalist, a blind woman and even her dog. How we can learn to see more, by looking and listening closely.

Guests

Alexandra Horowitz

cognitive scientist and professor of psychology at Barnard College. Author of the 2009 book "Inside of a Dog."

Read An Excerpt

Excerpted from "On Looking: Eleven Walks with Expert Eyes" © 2013 by Alexandra Horowitz. Excerpted with permission by Scribner, a Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

Please familiarize yourself with our Code of Conduct and Terms of Use before posting your comments.

Our address has changed!

The Diane Rehm Show is produced by member-supported WAMU 88.5 in Washington DC.