•All but the most eagle-eyed viewers tend to miss continuity errors in films
•Researchers claim this is because we view the world in 15 second chunks
•This means that most people will miss slight changes as our brains wash over them
By Suzannah Hills and Fiona Macrae
The Romans were certainly an advanced civilisation, but as far as we know, they never discovered gas propulsion.
But a scene in the hit film Gladiator suggests otherwise when a chariot strikes a wall and flips over – revealing a gas canister hidden beneath.
This is just one example of hundreds of continuity errors to appear in Hollywood movies but most of them go unnoticed by the audience.
Scientists believe they have now discovered why this is – we view the world in 15-second chunks, so will miss brief continuity errors.
Researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, have discovered the brain merges together similar images seen within 15 seconds.
Without this skill, even simple changes in people’s facial expression would be so overwhelming that we’d feel like we were hallucinating.
Researcher David Whitney said: ‘The continuity field smoothes what would otherwise be a jittery perception of object features over time.
‘Essentially, it pulls together physically but not radically different objects to appear more similar to each other.
‘This is surprising because it means the visual system sacrifices accuracy for the stake of the continuous, stable perception of objects.’…