Change Detection Without Awareness: Do Explicit Reports Underestimate the Representation of Change in the Visual System?

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Evidence from many different paradigms (e.g. change blindness, inattentional blindness, transsaccadic integration) indicate that observers are often very poor at reporting changes to their visual environment. Such evidence has been used to suggest that the spatio-temporal coherence needed to represent change can only occur in the presence of focused attention. In four experiments we use modified change blindness tasks to demonstrate (a) that sensitivity to change does occur in the absence of awareness, and (b) this sensitivity does not rely on the redeployment of attention. We discuss these results in relation to theories of scene perception, and propose a reinterpretation of the role of attention in representing change.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2000

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