August 2016
Volume 16, Issue 12
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   September 2016
Exploring moderators of the relationship between working memory capacity and inattentional blindness
Author Affiliations
  • Timothy Wright
    Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, College of Engineering, University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • Nelson Roque
    Department of Psychology, College of Arts and Sciences, Florida State University
  • Walter Boot
    Department of Psychology, College of Arts and Sciences, Florida State University
  • Cary Stothart
    Department of Psychology, College of Arts and Sciences, Florida State University
Journal of Vision September 2016, Vol.16, 46. doi:10.1167/16.12.46
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      Timothy Wright, Nelson Roque, Walter Boot, Cary Stothart; Exploring moderators of the relationship between working memory capacity and inattentional blindness. Journal of Vision 2016;16(12):46. doi: 10.1167/16.12.46.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Abstract

Observers sometimes fail to notice seemingly obvious and unobscured events in their visual environment (inattenational blindness; IB). Unfortunately, even though real-world examples of IB can result in dangerous or even fatal consequences, few reliable individual difference predictors have shown success at distinguishing noticers from non-noticers. Even one of the more successful individual difference predictors of IB, working memory capacity (WMC), has not universally demonstrated success despite its hypothesized direct linkage with attentional control. These conflicting findings in the literature may be a result of unknown moderators. For example, through increasing instances in which the location of observer's attention and the unexpected object overlap (central IB), unexpected object salience may moderate the WMC and IB relationship. To test this hypothesis, a large-scale study was conducted on Amazon's Mechanical Turk in which participants completed an automated operation span (AOSPAN) task prior to a sustained IB task. Unexpected object salience and distance from the focus of attention was manipulated between-subjects. Critically, if unexpected object salience moderates the WMC and IB relationship through increasing instances of central IB, a significant relationship would be expected both when the unexpected object is highly salient (a red cross) or when an unexpected object is presented within the focus of attention. Following exclusion criteria, 453 participants' data were analyzed. Overall, no relationship between WMC and IB was observed, even in conditions in which a significant relationship was expected (a highly salient unexpected event or an unexpected object presented within the focus of attention).

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2016

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