Oct 9, 2017

One reason we miss things right under our noses

A large toothbrush is sometimes harder to recognize than a small one.Credit: Eckstein et al, Figure 1

If an object isn't to scale with its surroundings, it's easier to overlook, according to a study published last week in the journal Current Biology. Participants were asked to search an image for a particular object. Sometimes the object was missing, sometimes it was normal-sized, and sometimes it was four times larger than normal. Participants were 13% more likely to miss the object when it was larger than expected.

Why it matters: It's part of a larger body of work showing expectations can influence how we perceive the world around us. Similar phenomena explain why sometimes objects we were looking for were in front of us the whole time, just out-of-context.

Go Deeper: The New York Times features examples of this illusion, and others, at work.

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Coronavirus dashboard

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  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 1:30 p.m. ET: 887,067 — Total deaths: 44,264 — Total recoveries: 185,541Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 1:30 p.m. ET: 190,740 — Total deaths: 4,127 — Total recoveries: 7,141Map.
  3. Federal government latest: Vice President Mike Pence said that White House modeling suggests "Italy may be the most comparable area to the United States" in terms of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
  4. State updates: Florida and Pennsylvania are the latest to issue stay-at-home orders, totaling 34 states and D.C.
  5. 2020 update: New York is latest state to delay primary — Bernie Sanders urges Wisconsin to delay April 7 primary.
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West Virginia is latest state to delay primary due to coronavirus

Photo: Barbara Davidson/Getty Images

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice rescheduled the state's May 12 primary election to June 9 on Wednesday, citing fears surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, AP reports.

Why it matters: 23 other states and the District of Columbia haven't held primaries yet. The White House is recommending, for now, that Americans practice social distancing and gather in groups of no more than 10 people — while many states have issued stay-at-home orders.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Florida governor issues stay-at-home order

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis ordered a statewide stay-at-home order on Wednesday after the number of coronavirus cases in the state rose to nearly 7,000.

Why it matters: DeSantis has been criticized for declining to order any statewide mandates to curb the spread of coronavirus as Florida — home to a significant elderly population — has increasingly become a hotspot. The order will go into effect Thursday at midnight and last for 30 days.