People are better at spotting animals than cars

The Economist has this article about research suggesting that people have built-in modules in their brains to spot animals. The experiment described shows that people notice moving animals better than moving vehicles.

The hypothesized reason for this is that the ability to notice moving animals has been made innate in people through evolution. Evolution just hasn’t had time to get people to notice moving cars as well.

This morning on the way to work a cat ran along the sidewalk and I noticed it immediately even though I wasn’t really looking in that direction. Perhaps if it had been a skateboard I wouldn’t have noticed it…