Change Blindness: a Literature Review on Attention

1658 words 7 pages
Change Blindness: A Literature Review on Attention
When going about our daily lives, just how much are we missing of the things around us? Visual attention has fascinated psychologists and now research is being carried out to distinguish to what extent, our attention or the absence of it, can affect our day-to-day lives. Change blindness is something we all experience at some point, some more than others. By definition it refers to the failure a person has to notice a change that would otherwise seem obvious when pointed out. (Watson, Leekam, Connolly, Collis, Findlay, McConachie & Rodgers, 2012). Researchers believe there are a few different causes for this such as altered position, eye movements, a visual obstruction or in the
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(Caplovitz, Fendrich & Hughes, 2008). When we fail to allocate visual attention to a particular area we are preventing storage of the changing aspect of the scene in our visual short-term memory and therefore are unable to make any comparison. (Caplovitz, Fendrich & Hughes, 2008). This is how things can go unnoticed and to some extent, how change blindness can occur. We can see that from this in order to make claims about change blindness where focussed attention is lacking, we must understand that the two are largely interrelated.

Although extensive research has taken place surrounding change blindness in the last ten years, there still remain several unanswered questions that psychologists aim to explain and understand. Studies conducted by Utochkin try to distinguish if there are in fact any differences between near and far locations of specific features in relation to spatial attention and if speed or accuracy is altered by these locations. (2011). It is hard to say if either of these have an effect as the results of his findings do not give any unambiguous answers. Other questions remain in relation to change blindness. It is still unknown to what extent its effects have on everyday behaviour or whether it greatly impairs performance on some tasks. However, it has been proven that it can impair performance when it comes to driving ability or on a more moral level, eyewitness accounts, which is now heavily relied on in court. This can


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