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Change-blindness as a result of "mudsplashes."

Change-blindness (CB) occurs when large changes are missed under natural viewing conditions because they occur simultaneously with a brief visual disruption. This paper found that this can occur even when the disruption does not cover or obscure the changes. The authors used 48 pairs of pictures, consisting of an original and a modified picture (each displayed for 3 sec), each pair presented cyclically with an 80-ms duration "mudsplash" superimposed at the moment of the change. There was no disruption in visual continuity at the moment of the change. 10 observers were asked to press a button as soon as they identified the change, which could have been a large object or region of the picture shifting in location, changing color, or appearing or disappearing. The change could be either a "central interest" or a "marginal interest" element. Results show that central interest changes were usually detected as soon as they occurred, whereas marginal-interest changes were seen only on their 2nd or later occurrences. Findings suggest that CB occurs because the internal representation of the visual world is rather sparse and essentially contains only central-interest information. A 2nd experiment confirmed this. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2005 APA, all rights reserved)



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