August 2016
Volume 16, Issue 12
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   September 2016
Making the covert overt: Eye-movements reveal the misdirection of gaze and attention
Author Affiliations
  • Anthony Barnhart
    Carthage College
  • Francisco Costela
    Harvard Medical School
  • Michael McCamy
    Barrow Neurological Institute
  • Susana Martinez-Conde
    SUNY Downstate Medical Center
  • Stephen Macknik
    SUNY Downstate Medical Center
  • Stephen Goldinger
    Arizona State University
Journal of Vision September 2016, Vol.16, 41. doi:
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      Anthony Barnhart, Francisco Costela, Michael McCamy, Susana Martinez-Conde, Stephen Macknik, Stephen Goldinger; Making the covert overt: Eye-movements reveal the misdirection of gaze and attention. Journal of Vision 2016;16(12):41. doi:

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

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The methods of magicians are gaining widespread popularity in cognitive science as a powerful tool for increasing the ecological validity of experiments on attention and perception. In a series of eyetracking experiments, participants watched videos of a magic trick, wherein a coin placed beneath a napkin disappears, reappearing under a different napkin. Appropriately deployed attention would allow participants to detect the "secret" event that underlies the illusion (a moving coin), as it happens in full view and is visible for approximately 550 ms. Nevertheless, we observed high rates of inattentional blindness. Unlike prior research, eye-movements during the critical event showed different patterns for participants, depending on whether they saw the moving coin. By adding a distractor task to the magical presentation, we were able to use it to study the timecourse of divided attention via the measurement of microsaccades. We observed that both the onset and direction of microsaccades index task complexity and the locus of covert attention.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2016


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