Undetected changes in visible stimuli influence subsequent decisions

Consciousness and Cognition 17 (3):646-656 (2008)
Abstract
Change blindness—our inability to detect changes in a stimulus—occurs even when the change takes place gradually, without any disruption (Simons et al., 2000). Such gradual changes are more difficult to detect than changes that involve a disruption. Using this method, David et al. (in press) recently showed substantial blindness to changes that involve facial expressions of emotion. In this experiment, we show that people who failed to detect any change in the displays were (1) nevertheless influenced by the changing information in subsequent recognition decisions about which facial expression they had seen, and (2) that their confidence in their decisions was lower after exposure to changing vs. static displays. The findings therefore support the notion that undetected changes that occur in highly salient stimuli may be causally efficacious and influence subsequent behaviour. Implications concerning the nature of the representations associated with undetected changes are discussed
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