August 2012
Volume 12, Issue 9
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   August 2012
Using magic to reconcile inattentional blindness and attentional misdirection
Author Affiliations
  • Anthony Barnhart
    Department of Psychology, Arizona State University
  • Stephen Goldinger
    Department of Psychology, Arizona State University
Journal of Vision August 2012, Vol.12, 14. doi:
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      Anthony Barnhart, Stephen Goldinger; Using magic to reconcile inattentional blindness and attentional misdirection. Journal of Vision 2012;12(9):14.

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

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Recently, Memmert (2010) argued for an empirical dissociation between inattentional blindness (IB) and attentional misdirection (AM) paradigms, citing four important differences between protocols within each field of study. Following the lead of Kuhn and Tatler (2005), we have developed a magic trick for use in eye-tracking experimentation that has properties which make it ideal for reconciling the differences highlighted in Memmert’s critique, while maintaining the ecological validity that many experiments in IB lack. In particular, it has the malleability to extend and re-evaluate the findings of Mack and Rock (1998) under real-world viewing conditions. In the magic trick, a coin placed beneath a napkin disappears, reappearing under a different napkin. Depending upon the condition, in some instances participants were also required to identify a briefly presented visual stimulus. Appropriately deployed attention during the trial would allow a participant to detect the "secret" event that underlies the illusion, as the event happens in full view and is visible for an average of 550 msec. The magic trick has been used to successfully replicate results across the IB and AM literatures, including the common finding that IB cannot be predicted by eye movements during the period in which the IB stimulus is visible. Rather, IB can only be predicted by fixation patterns and durations following the critical period. We will show how the magic trick can be manipulated to address each of Memmert’s points, as well as to test some of the commonly-held psychological intuitions of magicians.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2012


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