Change blindness blindness: Beliefs about the roles of intention and scene complexity in change detection

Consciousness and Cognition 16 (1):31-51 (2007)
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Observers have difficulty detecting visual changes. However, they are unaware of this inability, suggesting that people do not have an accurate understanding of visual processes. We explored whether this error is related to participants’ beliefs about the roles of intention and scene complexity in detecting changes. In Experiment 1 participants had a higher failure rate for detecting changes in an incidental change detection task than an intentional change detection task. This effect of intention was greatest for complex scenes. However, participants predicted equal levels of change detection for both types of changes across scene complexity. In Experiment 2, emphasizing the differences between intentional and incidental tasks allowed participants to make predictions that were less inaccurate. In Experiment 3, using more sensitive measures and accounting for individual differences did not further improve predictions. These findings suggest that adults do not fully understand the role of intention and scene complexity in change detection



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