Observational Recall

To train a ninja assassin to observe the enemy and to obtain as much useful and specific information as possible, the ancient masters devised a "game of stones.

" Use a small wooden box or shallow wicker tray and place in it stones, jewelry, silverware, keys, coins and small household items so that the bottom is completely covered.

Now expose to a partner the uncovered container in front of your.

Now have him look at the items as long as desired and even touch and feel them.

After he sufficiently examines them, cover the container and have him relate what was see.

Check for accuracy and take time in referring to the ones he missed.

Now cover the box and have him reiterate once again everything that he saw.

This time also ask him to relate details about the container! This teaches him not to be so absorbed in detail that the overall picture is obscured.

Repeat the game until observation improves to 100%.

A college professor demonstrated to his freshman classroom the lack of observational awareness in most people by staging a sham murder.

As he began his class, a thin, small busted, white woman (5'11") in a T-shirt and jeans, wearing a baseball cap over short hair burst into the room and shouted, "This is a joke.

" She carried a bow and quiver, but shot the professor with a blank pistol one time.

She dropped the bow and quiver, and quickly left the room as the professor slumped to the floor.

Through the classroom pandemonium, the professor arose from the floor seconds later, and visibly removed a mock arrow from a pretended wound in the side.

After calming the class, he instructed them to write down the answers to the following questions: 1) What did the assailant say?

2) What was the assailant wearing?

3) Describe the assailant -- male or female, black or white, short hair or long, fat or thin, tall or short, etc.

4) What action did the assailant take?

Astonishingly, there was very little, accurate agreement among the classroom students.

Eyewitnesses to crimes are often just as unreliable.