Sword swallower Dan Meyer, co-winner of the 2007 Ig Nobel Prize in Medicine for the BMJ study "Sword Sw...
Sword swallower Dan Meyer, co-winner of the 2007 Ig Nobel Prize in Medicine for the BMJ study "Sword Swallowing and Its Side Effects" accidentally replicated the findings of an earlier Ig Nobel Prize-winning study that involved a gorilla. This video shows it happening.
The video was filmed during the 2010 Ig Nobel Tour of the UK for the UKs National Science & Engineering Week. The action happens in Liverpool, in front of the famous Cavern Club where The Beatles rose to fame.
Dan and other tour lecturers made a pilgrimage to the Cavern Club. For historical purposes, Dan swallowed a sword in front of the club and attempted to sing. While doing so, tourists who were so intent on paying tribute to the Cavern Club did not even notice that — right in front of them — a man was performing the rare and dangerous act of swallowing a sword! Two of those tourists are visible at the end of the video.
This curious aspect of human psychology was the focus of a project on selective attention that earned the 2004 Ig Nobel Prize in Psychology. Daniel Simons and Christopher Chabris were honored for demonstrating that when people pay close attention to something, its all too easy to overlook anything else — even a woman in a gorilla suit. Details of that experiment are in their study "Gorillas in Our Midst", vol. 28, Perception, 1999, pages 1059-74.