July 2013
Volume 13, Issue 9
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   July 2013
Attention restores awareness of changing colors in moving objects
Author Affiliations
  • Scott McLean
    University of Delaware
  • James E. Hoffman
    University of Delaware
Journal of Vision July 2013, Vol.13, 1281. doi:https://doi.org/10.1167/13.9.1281
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      Scott McLean, James E. Hoffman; Attention restores awareness of changing colors in moving objects. Journal of Vision 2013;13(9):1281. https://doi.org/10.1167/13.9.1281.

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

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Suchow and Alvarez (2011) discovered an interesting illusion in which motion appears to "silence awareness" for otherwise salient color changes in a set of objects. They showed that a continuous change in the hue of stationary objects is, perhaps not surprisingly, obvious to the observer. However, when the circles are set in motion, awareness of the changing colors is completely suppressed. We investigated whether this form of change blindness, like other change blindness phenomena, can be eliminated when visual attention is directed to the changing object. Participants had to track a set of moving target objects in a large set of moving distractors with random static colors. On 70% of the trials, one of the targets began changing color at a random delay after the start of the trial. On the remaining trials, none of the targets changed color and the observer was tested on which objects were targets. Observers were instructed to press a key as soon as they detected a color change and refrain from making false alarms. Color change detection was fast and accurate only when the number of tracked objects was within the observer’s tracking capacity. These results show that motion silencing of awareness can be overcome when attention is allocated to the changing object even when it is moving and fixation is maintained on the center of the display. Similar to other cases of change blindness, visual attention plays an important role in detecting change that is masked by motion.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2013


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