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Different Theories Of Inattentional Blindness Essay

1135 words - 5 pages

Processing capacity is a very broad and flexible category according to many researchers. In fact, the quote above mentioned suggests that we often fail to notice things that happen just in front of us (unexpected events that are often salient) either because we were completely absorbed by something else or because we had so many things to do at the same time that we couldn’t pay attention to it. We have all at least once failed to see a friend who was waving at us while eating in the cafeteria or walking in a crowded street. The primary question that we should ask ourselves is: how many things can we attend at the same time? The truth is that we didn’t perceive this friend because of a ...view middle of the document...

The results were a little bit surprising because they noted a relatively high level of inattentional blindness even under conditions of low perceptual load (55% awareness only) and made a hypothesis that it was due to the colored arms of the cross and designed a second experiment. In the second experiment, the cross task was replaced by a visual search task. Participants were asked to search for a target letter amongst either five non-target letters (high load) or five place holders (low task). The critical stimulus and the procedure were the same as in experiment one. The results therefore showed that there were more errors on average during performance of high load task than during performance of a low load task, showing that perceptual load plays a crucial role in determining explicit awareness for a task relevant stimulus. In both experiments the reaction time (RT) was measured.

(2) Criticism of these two experiments was that, although participants were not asked to make speed-task responses, it remains possible that the fact of being in the high load task performance group lowered the RTs in high load trials, therefore producing a longer delay between the critical stimulus presentation and awareness questioning. Consequently, they had to make an alternative account for perceptual load in terms of innatentional amnesia (rather than blindness). The theory of inattentional amnesia provides a substitute explanation of inattentional blindness. An experiment that weakens the “inattentional amnesia” account thus strengthening the inattentional blindness paradigm is the same as experiment two but with a 1 second delay from presentation stimulus and mask, until the task-response could be made. In this experiment, as low-load and high load RTs were equated, the effect of load on awareness reports found is not vulnerable to alternative accounts in terms of grater memory decay on trials of high load (vs. low load) during the longer reaction times. Also, according to Finch and Lavie “despite the stimulus presentation to awareness probe delay always exceeding 1 s, most participants reported awareness under conditions of low perceptual load” (Finch and Lavie).
(3) Now, the very phenomenon of “inattentional blindness is defined by a lack of expectation for the unattended stimulus”. For example, if participants are told for example to search for something...

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