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Anthony Barnhart, Francisco Costela, Michael McCamy, Susana Martinez-Conde, Stephen Macknik, Stephen Goldinger; Making the covert overt: Eye-movements reveal the misdirection of gaze and attention. Journal of Vision 2016;16(12):41. doi: 10.1167/16.12.41.
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© 2017 Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology.
The methods of magicians are gaining widespread popularity in cognitive science as a powerful tool for increasing the ecological validity of experiments on attention and perception. In a series of eyetracking experiments, participants watched videos of a magic trick, wherein a coin placed beneath a napkin disappears, reappearing under a different napkin. Appropriately deployed attention would allow participants to detect the "secret" event that underlies the illusion (a moving coin), as it happens in full view and is visible for approximately 550 ms. Nevertheless, we observed high rates of inattentional blindness. Unlike prior research, eye-movements during the critical event showed different patterns for participants, depending on whether they saw the moving coin. By adding a distractor task to the magical presentation, we were able to use it to study the timecourse of divided attention via the measurement of microsaccades. We observed that both the onset and direction of microsaccades index task complexity and the locus of covert attention.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2016
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