August 2016
Volume 16, Issue 12
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   September 2016
Inattentional blindness to color ensemble statistics
Author Affiliations
  • Michael Pitts
    Psychology, Reed College
  • Michael Cohen
    Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Molly Jackson-Nielsen
    Psychology, Reed College
Journal of Vision September 2016, Vol.16, 53. doi:10.1167/16.12.53
  • Views
  • Share
  • Tools
    • Alerts
      This feature is available to authenticated users only.
      Sign In or Create an Account ×
    • Get Citation

      Michael Pitts, Michael Cohen, Molly Jackson-Nielsen; Inattentional blindness to color ensemble statistics. Journal of Vision 2016;16(12):53. doi: 10.1167/16.12.53.

      Download citation file:

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

  • Supplements

The degree to which visual awareness exists outside focal attention is debated. A recent study (Bronfman et al., 2014, Psychological Science) claimed that perception of a particular ensemble statistic, color diversity, does not rely on limited cognitive mechanisms and is therefore perceived "cost free". In a series of experiments, we tested this claim by combining a modified inattentional blindness paradigm with the same color diversity stimuli used by Bronfman et al. Subjects first carried-out a single task in which they attended to a pre-cued row of letters in a Sperling-like display in order to report letter identities. Color diversity of the letters in the uncued rows was manipulated. Then, on the critical trial, a surprise forced choice recognition test was immediately administered (900ms later) to probe subjects' awareness of color diversity in the unattended rows. Inattentional blindness rates were 78% (experiment 1, N=50), 54% (experiment 2, N=24), and 53% (experiment 3, N=30). These results suggest that conscious perception of color diversity requires attention. Following the critical trial, subjects performed a dual-task on letter identity and color diversity. Letter recall was significantly reduced in the dual-task compared to the single-task, thus demonstrating an attentional cost for perceiving color diversity. We also tested a second ensemble statistic, size diversity, and found similarly high inattentional blindness rates as well as dual-task costs. The present results, along with converging evidence from several recent studies (Cohen et al., 2011; Huang, 2015; Mack & Clarke, 2012; Mack et al., 2015), support the view that conscious perception requires attention, even for easy-to-perceive visual ensemble statistics. In contrast to Bronfman et al.'s (2014) claims, these studies argue that dual-task reportability cannot be cited as evidence of rich conscious perception in the absence of focal attention.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2016


This PDF is available to Subscribers Only

Sign in or purchase a subscription to access this content. ×

You must be signed into an individual account to use this feature.