Tag Archives: history

Spies and Mannequins

In late December 2010, I went down to Spitalfields market with some other psychologists from UCL to help replicate a variation on Dan Simons’ famous change blindness study for a History Channel documentary about bizarre war tactics.

mannequin preperation

The mannequin in question

Apparently, there was an American spy during the cold war who defected to Russia (and indeed was the first spy to successfully do so). During his escape from the states, he managed to evade the authorities by swapping himself out for a mannequin. So, to illustrate the possibility of swapping someone out for someone else without people noticing, we spent the day fooling passers-by under the guise of looking for directions.

There’s video of it on YouTube (our bit starts three minutes in), and hopefully the History Channel will put it on their website soon.

Do you think you’d notice the change?