In The Wall Street Journal, psychology professor Alexandra Horowitz leads a reporter on a walk around a city block while discussing her new book, On Looking: Eleven Walks With Expert Eyes. An excerpt from the article:

In the book, which landed in stores last week, she hits the pavement with an urban sociologist, a typographer, a toddler, artist Maira Kalman (whose illustrations pepper the text) and a blind woman, among others, and relates their relative "expertise," depending on their particular vantage point.

We consider ourselves to have fairly keen observation skills, especially when we see something shiny like residual New Year's Eve confetti in the cracks of the city's sidewalks. On the other hand, it's true that we miss a lot of things while walking to and from the subway station, simply because we aren't paying attention. For Ms. Horowitz, walking is part of waking up.

"We assume we can know other people; that we can get into their heads. But we can't really," said Ms. Horowitz, a psychologist who teaches at Barnard College. "So this was a social experiment. To grab a person and say: 'Show me what's interesting to you on this ordinary block.'"

Read the full article.

Prof. Horowitz's research is in animal cognition. Her previous book was the bestseller Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know.


Photo Credit: Ramsay de Give for The Wall Street Journal