Metacognitive errors in change detection: Missing the gap between lab and life

Consciousness and Cognition 16 (1):52-57 (2007)
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Studies of change detection suggest that people tend to overestimate their ability to detect visual changes. In a recent laboratory study of change detection and human intention, Beck et al., found that individuals have an inadequate understanding that intention can improve change detection performance and that its importance increases with scene complexity. We note that these findings may be specific to unfamiliar situations such as those generated routinely in studies of change detection. In two questionnaire studies, we demonstrate that when participants consider real world scenarios such as driving, people are well aware that the intention to detect changes improves detection performance, especially in complex scenes. We suggest several reasons why change detection findings like Beck et al.’s do not generalize to real world situations. More broadly, we suggest a possible way to bridge the gap between lab and life



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