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NOVA ScienceNOW

Change Blindness

  • Posted 01.27.11
  • NOVA scienceNOW

Psychologists who study the fascinating phenomenon of change blindness know that merely looking at something is not the same as actively paying attention to it. As the demonstration in this video shows, people can be blind to significant changes in a visual scene that are obvious to someone who expects that these changes are going to happen.

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Launch Video Running Time: 00:51

Change blindness is particularly likely to occur when there is an interruption in the scene (say, a large board being carried by) or when a person is focused on another task (say, pondering street directions). For more intriguing demonstrations, see this website maintained by psychologist J. Kevin O'Regan, one of the first scientists to describe the phenomenon.

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