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Inattention And Change Blindness: Undetected Visual Changes In Real World Interactions

597 words - 3 pages

Two intriguing phenomena regarding visual attention and human behavior are inattention and change blindness. Generally, one would think that very discriminable changes to active stimuli in the environment can be easily detected, but research has shown this is not always the case. Previous research studies using photographs and motion pictures have reported participants’ lack of detecting salient changes in stimuli, but other studies have also shown such inadvertence to prominent changes in real-world interactions as well.
In the video, Person Swap, an experiment was conducted on inattention and change blindness by using confederates to imitate a real-world interaction. The experiment proceeded as followed. First, a confederate with a map asked a pedestrian for directions to a certain location. The pedestrian first looked at the confederate and agreed to help. Then the pedestrian looked at the map with the confederate, but while the pedestrian was focusing on the map, two men with a huge portrait rudely walked in between the pedestrian and confederate. However, during the interruption the confederate switched positions with another confederate who was hiding behind the portrait. Once the interruption was over, a different confederate from the initial confederate interacted with the pedestrian. Surprisingly, many people did not notice the change in confederates. Even when the confederate whom the pedestrian was initially conversing with changed to a person of a different race and gender, people continued the conversation as if nothing happened.
The phenomenon described above is inattention, and there are many reasons why people experience inattention. One explanation could be credited to selective attention. For example, when confederate asked for a specific place on the map, the pedestrians were busy processing the information that acknowledged that they were familiar and competent in giving the experimenter...

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