What’s “inattentional” about inattentional blindness?

Consciousness and Cognition 19 (4):1102-1104 (2010)
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In a recent commentary, Memmert critiqued claims that attentional misdirection is directly analogous to inattentional blindness and cautioned against assuming too close a similarity between the two phenomena. One important difference highlighted in his analysis is that most lab-based inductions of IB rely on the taxing of attention through a demanding primary task, whereas attentional misdirection typically involves simply the orchestration of spatial attention. The present commentary argues that, rather than reflecting a complete dissociation between IB and attentional misdirection, this difference highlights potential grounds for delineating mechanistically distinct forms of IB: spatial inattentional blindness, which stems from the covert misallocation of spatial attention, and central inattentional blindness, which stems from disruption or preoccupation of perceptual mechanisms that interface with higher-level processes such as working memory. Recognition of such distinctions can help situate theoretical understanding of IB more firmly within the context of the broader attention literature



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