No pause for a brief disruption: Failures of visual awareness during ongoing events

Consciousness and Cognition 13 (2):363-372 (2004)
Abstract
Past research has repeatedly documented the close relationship between visual attention and awareness. Most recently, research exploring change blindness, inattentional blindness, repetition blindness, and the attentional blink has converged on the conclusion that attention to one aspect of a scene or event may lead to a highly circumscribed awareness of only the specific information attended, while other information, even that which is spatially or temporally nearby can go completely unnoticed. In the present report, we extend these observations to the dynamic allocation of attention during a well-structured meaningful event. In two experiments, subjects viewed brief videos of simple events and were told to pay close attention to them. During the events, an unexpected disruption consisting of a brief low spatial frequency motion field occurred. Despite intensive questioning and opportunities for recognition, the majority of subjects reported no awareness of 200, 400, or 600 ms disruptions. In a second experiment, blank-screen disruptions were added, and these resulted in no increase in detection. We conclude that visual attention may result in far more transitory awareness of visual information than previously appreciated
Keywords *Visual Perception  *Visual Attention
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