Change Blindness: a Literature Review on Attention

1674 WordsApr 18, 20137 Pages
Change Blindness: A Literature Review on Attention When going about our daily lives, just how much are we missing of the things around us? Visual attention has fascinated psychologists and now research is being carried out to distinguish to what extent, our attention or the absence of it, can affect our day-to-day lives. Change blindness is something we all experience at some point, some more than others. By definition it refers to the failure a person has to notice a change that would otherwise seem obvious when pointed out. (Watson, Leekam, Connolly, Collis, Findlay, McConachie & Rodgers, 2012). Researchers believe there are a few different causes for this such as altered position, eye movements, a visual obstruction or in the…show more content…
So just what is it that makes people unable to make simple observations about the things around us? Even when they are right in front of us, we still struggle to acknowledge that they are there. How many times have you heard recounts of a car accident where the person at fault says, “I did not see them coming”. How many times can you recall leaving your phone somewhere and not being able to see it when its staring you in the face? How many times have you kicked yourself for something like this occurring when at the time it seemed like they were no where to be seen? It is simple, psychological research tells us that despite continuing image shifts, attention to specific features in a visual scene can be critical in ensuring stable perception. (Cavanaugh & Wurtz, 2004). We can overcome this phenomenon however, if the right amount of spatial attention is allocated to the changing features. The flicker paradigm has become a useful psychological tool in change detection. It allows us to rule out influences from other known causes to change blindness such as eye movements, visual saccades, or a change in location. It has been designed so that any changes detected can be directly associated with attention. By manipulating perceived images in participants, we are able to study the role of attention in relation to change blindness. Research has concluded that without due visual attention, observers are blind to change. (Rensink et al. 1997). Therefore we
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