When you can't find something...what's that called?

Is there a name for the phenomenon of not being able to see something that is located in plain sight?

For example, looking for my water bottle. Looking. Looking. Looking. Turns out, it’s sitting right on the kitchen table where I first looked. Maybe because I was mesmerized by the mess on the table, or simple lack of attention, or what-have-you, I didn’t see it. This kind of thing happens sometimes.

Is there a name for this?

My life.

In our house, it’s called “refrigerator blindness,” and it seems to mostly affect the male members of the household. :dubious:

How about “blind spot,” used somewhat figuratively (rather than the actual blind spot where your optic nerve connects to your retina)?

I’m sure there’s a better neurological term for seeing an object but not percieving it, which might be found somewhere in the works of Oliver Sacks.

Ya know what the strangest thing is, what you are searching for will ALWAYS be in the last place you look. :smiley:

It has many names.
Old age forgetfullness.
Can’t see the forest for the trees.
Your eyes and brain are playing games with you.
If there a specific name already someone will come along and invent a specific name for the affliction!

Inattentional Blindness?


The phraise “Can’t see for looking” was used in my household.

Actually, when I lose something, it’s always in about the second or third place I look, but I keep on searching until I get to the last place anyway, just in case.

How about when it’s not in plain sight, but you should know where it is because it’s on your body?

ref. Sunglasses, my head

Nah it is usually in the third or so place you look. You look in a bunch more places and then start over. when you finally find it you say “I swear I looked here before”.

That’s why I always look in the last place first.

It called stoopid.

We always said the object was “hiding in plain sight” or “right where I put it” or “in the last place I look.” My wife’s family suggests that St. Anthony is testing your faith, and if you ask nicely he’ll help you find it.
Remember to say “please.”

Or “you can’t see the trees for the forest.”

Shunted vision.

Thats what I call it. I tend to name things myself. :wink:

I generally hear it described as “If it [the sought-for object] was a snake, it woulda bit you” [or “me”, if the speaker is the one who was looking for it]. :slight_smile:

I don’t think “Inattentional Blindness” works, because that seems to describe the phenomenon of objects or events within the field of vision not being noticed because the viewer is deliberately watching something else. What we got here is somebody deliberately visually searching for a particular object, getting that same object in his/her field of vision, but still not successfully perceiving it.

I like “hiding in plain sight” and “can’t see for looking”. But apparently the closest thing to a recognized name for the phenomenon is Podkayne’s “refrigerator blindness”:

I move we agree to adopt this as the standard term, although without the food-specific context or the gender-bias overtones. There you go, Standup, you couldn’t find your water bottle because you were suffering from “refrigerator blindness”.

Excellent, but we still need the term for Dooku’s "How about when it’s not in plain sight, but you should know where it is because it’s on your body?:

I often look for my car keys whilst holding them and similar actions. Obviously "stoopid’ is the general term for such actions, but what is the specific term?

Easy: “Braille refrigerator blindness”. Borrowed from the colloquial use of “Braille” to describe doing something by tactile perception which is more commonly done by visual perception (e.g., “Braille parallel parking” when you touch the bumper of the car behind you). :slight_smile:

(Actually, now I feel a little uneasy that that might seem somewhat disrespectful to the visually impaired, but I’ve never heard it used in a derogatory way, honest.)

I thank you all for your contributions to the solution of this conundrum. I think that “refrigerator blindness” is an excellent term of reference for this. “Refrigerator blindness” it is.

Now where the hell is the “Submit” button? Damnit! I know it’s here somewh…oh, never mind.

I’ve also wandered around the house looking for the glass of wine that’s in my hand. I hesitate to use that as an example, though, seeing as how there’s a well-known “blindness” going on when that happens. :slight_smile: