Inattentional Blindness

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Postby Guest » 01/19/04 01:41 PM

Since no one has mentioned the segment on Inattentional Blindness on NBC's Dateline on Friday, I am assuming that you "missed" it.
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Postby Pete McCabe » 01/20/04 11:07 AM

I saw Dateline on Friday. But I didn't notice anything about Inattentional Blindness.
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Postby Michael Edwards » 01/20/04 12:43 PM

While I did not watch the Dateline program, I have been exploring the research on inattentional blindness for several years now. It is an intriguing psychological and physiological concept...and it challenges what many have presumed about how the eye and the mind work together to "see" visual images. For centuries, we have thought that the eye and the mind capture images just like a photograph...that which is in your field of vision, you see. This research suggests that it may be more complicated than that..that the mind may not always focus on an object that is right in front of one's eyes (ie...it is "inattentive" to it) and consequently we don't "see" it (ie..we are "blind" to it). This is different than being misdirected (or as Tommy Wonder would have it, directed) where one's gaze is actually moved away from the object or activity in question. In this instance, you do not see the object despite looking right at it because the mind -- not the eye -- is otherwise engaged.
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Postby Guest » 01/20/04 01:07 PM

Pete, you saw the show but missed the segment?!
This stuff is more powerful than I thought.

This may be a good time to say this:
If you have not seen these experiments, it will spoil the fun for you if you read any further!
There is a link to some of them on the Dateline NBC website.


Michael, based on the experiments that I saw, the subject IS (mis)directed. In the basketball experiment the subject is instructed to count the number of passes. This is similar to the (mis)direction used in the classic vanishing glass effect. (I believe Mr. Wonder calls this the wrong leg technique).
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Postby Michael Edwards » 01/20/04 02:28 PM

Thank you, Rafael. Having not seen the program, I can't comment on the specific experiments that were shown. My understanding, however, is that in the case of inattentional blindness it is the focus of the mind -- not the eyes -- that causes us to miss things that should be within our frame of vision. We don't see things before our very eyes even though we are looking directly at them. In my previous post, I was trying -- somewhat inelegantly -- to differentiate that from those instances of (mis)direction where we do not see an action or image because we have been (mis)directed to look elsewhere. But (mis)directing one's thoughts rather than one's gaze is certainly an application of inattention blindness and it is precisely because of this that I find it intriguing. Indeed, my own interest is in how we direct the attention of a spectator's mind without having him/her adjust his/her field of vision.
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Postby Bill Mullins » 01/20/04 02:29 PM

LINK to experimental videos.
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Postby Frank Yuen » 01/20/04 03:16 PM

Joshua Jay covered this subject in Magic just a month or two ago. There was an article as well as an effect.

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Postby Guest » 01/21/04 08:59 AM

Wouldn't the inertia pass (Sylvester pitch) be a good example of this phenomenon (inattentional blindness)?
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Postby Bill Mullins » 10/04/04 10:40 AM

This research just won an Ignobel Prize.
http://www.latimes.com/news/custom/show ... ct01.story
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 10/04/04 11:40 AM

Wonderful that this research is getting some notice around here.

It is possible to change around a viewed image without the viewer noticing, especially if you ask them to look for some particular feature or detail.

Back around 1983, Richard Hatch showed a card trick where the deck is dealt and turned over card by card as the volunteer looks for their card... and they miss the odd colored backs.

At its most basic, this is phenomenon probably the root of misdirection. Whether subtle or gross, our attention is drawn to something, thus allowing some other thing to go by unnoticed.
Mundus vult decipi
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Postby Robert Allen » 10/04/04 12:11 PM

A few things to add here:

1) the link http://viscog.beckman.uiuc.edu/djs_lab/demos.html shows some of the films, and has a link to some of the experiments on a DVD at http://www.viscog.com (down right now)

2) Humans are supposedly adapted to detect motion, probably as a result of us evolving from both predator and prey. I'd suspect we 'notice' motion (i.e. our processing machine gives it a stronger weight) more than say colors. I also personally think that we may process images that we see as the collection of objects they represent, rather than as 'pictures', which means we can again assign higher weights to objects that are more important to us in the analysis. Even position might be noticed more - Phil Goldstein makes some assertions to this related to equivoque, and if you search the web you may find a bizarre, humorous, and possibly even accurate joke about how men select urinals when presented with a number of them on the wall to choose from.

3) Just because a spectator doesn't comment on something doesn't mean they didn't see it. And just because one spectator doesn't see it doesn't mean the other didn't. Dick Zimmerman showed an item in his lecture once involving the production of a stack of coins from apparently completely empty hands (he showed a spectator his hands), then produced the coins for an audience).
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Postby Bill Mullins » 01/23/13 12:47 PM

Pay Attention to this one.
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Postby Matthew Field » 01/24/13 05:35 AM

Great, Bill!

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