My 10 year old daughter caught me with this one this morning, it comes from the "Girl's Book of How to be the Best at Everything" (I don't know where she gets her competitive spirit from!). Here's the test. Ask a friend to count the number of Fs in the following text:
FINISHED FILES ARE THE
RESULT OF YEARS OF SCIENTIFIC
STUDY COMBINED WITH THE
EXPERIENCE OF YEARS
What did you get? I got three.
My younger daughter, aged 6 found all six.
I'm claiming being half-asleep as my defence, but the truth is that I was actually trying quite hard!
It's interesting how by jumping ahead to where we think the answers lie - in the more complex areas (longer words) - we subconsciously ignore the familiar (those three "ofs", in case you are still trying to find them!). My six year old is still young enough to give equal weight to every word, so she got it right and jumped up and down on our bed laughing at me, declaring herself to be the family Genius! I'll get even with her later...
It's hard to unlearn how to screen things out, isn't it? I wonder how much insight and learning passes us by in business because it's "cloaked in familiarity"?