Inattentional blindness is a failure to notice an unexpected event when attention is directed elsewhere. The current study examined participants' awareness of an unexpected object that maintained luminance contrast, switched the luminance once, or repetitively flashed. One hundred twenty participants performed a dynamic tracking task on a computer monitor for which they were instructed to count the number of movement deflections of an attended set of objects while ignoring other objects. On the critical trial, an unexpected cross that did not change its luminance (control condition), switched its luminance once (switch condition), or repetitively flashed (flash condition) traveled across the stimulus display. Participants noticed the unexpected cross more frequently when the luminance feature matched their attention set than when it did not match. Unexpectedly, however, a proportion of the participants who noticed the cross in the switch and flash conditions were statistically comparable. The results suggest that an unexpected object with even a single luminance change can break inattentional blindness in a multi-object tracking task.
Original Publication Citation
Palmer, D. B., Yamani, Y., Bobrow, T. L., Karpinsky, N. D., & Krusienski, D. J. (2018). Transient signals and inattentional blindness in a multi-object tracking task. i-perception, 9(1), 1-9. doi:10.1177/2041669518754595
0000-0002-4876-2819 (Palmer), 0000-0001-8990-0010 (Yamani)
Palmer, Dakota B.; Yamani, Yasuke; and Bobrow, Taylor L., "Transient Signals and Inattentional Blindness in a Multi-Object Tracking Task" (2018). Psychology Faculty Publications. 18.