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Fumihiko Taya, Ken Mogi; The role of attention in change blindness. Journal of Vision 2006;6(6):59. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/6.6.59.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Change blindness is a phenomenon where subjects fail to detect even a large change in the visual scene. Studies on change blindness have proved useful for understanding attention, perception and visual short-term memory (vSTM). It has been suggested that focused attention is necessary for the detection of a change, while not sufficient. When changes were applied during blinks, subjects failed to notice a change even when they were looking at the positions of modified stimuli (looking without seeing). The reason why such a change fails to be registered remains to be clarified. One possibility is that the preserved representation is sparse so that the detailed information necessary for detecting the change is lacking, even when the attention is focused on the modified position, e.g., when the modified property is not relevant to the facing task. Another possibility is that the change is detected unconsciously but fails to be consciously perceived. Here we recorded the eye movements while the subjects saw flicker stimuli in which the original and modified images alternated repeatedly, separated a blank. By conducting a series of statistical analysis on the eye-tracking data, we investigated the relationship between the eye positions and the positions of detected changes, testing whether subjects were attracted to the changes unconsciously, and clarifying which aspects of the stimuli are crucial in the change detection. Based on the data, we discuss the role of attention and other cognitive factors contributing to the failure or capture of changes in the visual scene.
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