The Perception of Change

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You can miss obvious signs while driving because your mind was wandering, listening to the radio, talking on your cell phone, or even talking to the passenger in your car. Change blindness is the difficulty noticing large changes in your visual senses that are normally easy to be seen (Simon, 2005 ). A main factor in change blindness is attention which is needed to see change (Simon, 2005). The perception of a change occurs when the attention is on the object being changed (Rensink, 1997). Changes to items in a central location are easier to detect than objects elsewhere and the objects that are in the same physical distance (Simon, 2005). Your attention can be distributed to 4-5 items at a time but only detect one change at that moment which is called change simultagnosia (Simon, 2005). Inattentional blindness was first studied by Ulric Neisser and his colleagues in the 1970s. Their study involved subjects viewing an attention-demanding task video where groups of players passing a ball. Subjects were asked to watch one group pass the ball back and forth while ignoring the other group who passed the ball. While this was taking place a woman carrying an umbrella walked through the scene which many subjected failed to notice (Simon, 2010). Simons and Chabris replicated this experiment by using a woman dressed in a gorilla suit that stopped in the middle of the video and thumped its chest for 9 seconds and only 50% of viewers noticed. The gorilla video is a well-known video on visual awareness with about 90% of people say they would notice the gorilla. A new video was later made in front of a green screen so that they could change the color of the curtain behind the event taking place. They had the gorilla walk through the scene stopped and faced the camera while he thumped his chest then left the scene. The curtain colored changed along with a player of the black team left the scene (Simons, 2010). (Beck, 2001) Detecting visual change in the environment is important and it is reported that people are poor when detecting the change during a screen flicker which causes the blindness to occur. When you divide your attention between two tasks you pay less attention to the second one than the primary task (Beck, 2001).
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