August 2014
Volume 14, Issue 10
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   August 2014
Appropriately Colored Scenes Reduce Inattentional Blindness
Author Affiliations
  • Kelly Webster
    Department of Psychology, The City College of the City University of New York
  • Jason Clarke
    Department of Psychology, New School for Social Research
  • Arien Mack
    Department of Psychology, New School for Social Research
  • Tony Ro
    Department of Psychology, The City College of the City University of New York
Journal of Vision August 2014, Vol.14, 609. doi:
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      Kelly Webster, Jason Clarke, Arien Mack, Tony Ro; Appropriately Colored Scenes Reduce Inattentional Blindness. Journal of Vision 2014;14(10):609.

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

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Although several factors (e.g., unexpectedness, meaningfulness, and location) are known to influence inattentional blindness (IB), the role of color and scene gist has not been thoroughly examined. The Mack and Rock (1998) IB cross procedure was employed in three experiments to investigate the effects of color on IB. In the first experiment, subjects were tested on 90 trials, 60 of which contained different grayscale scenes and the remaining 30 a grayscale mosaic, all presented at fixation along with a cross in the periphery. On each trial, subjects were asked to report the longer arm of the cross and then responded as quickly as possible to whether a string of letters formed a non-word or a word; the word was either related or unrelated to the scene gist to measure priming. After the last trial, subjects were asked whether they were aware of anything on the screen aside from the cross and mosaic. Experiment 2 was identical to the first experiment except appropriately colored scenes instead of grayscale ones and colored mosaics were used, whereas Experiment 3 used color-negative versions of the colored scenes. Significantly fewer subjects (22%) reported being unaware of the scenes when they were appropriately colored as compared to when the scenes were grayscale (45%) or color-negatives (53% ). Only subjects aware of the scenes showed evidence of gist priming, with positive priming for grayscale images, negative priming for appropriately colored images, likely because more inhibition of the scenes was required to suppress them from interfering with the main cross judgment task, and no priming for color-negative scenes, probably because they were difficult to decipher. Together, these results show that appropriate color information in a scene reduces IB, may be difficult to ignore, and facilitates conscious scene gist perception.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2014


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