To See Or Not To See: The Need for Attention to Perceive Changes in Scenes
R.A. Rensink, J.K. O'Regan, J.J. Clark, Cambridge Basic Research, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.

International Journal of Psychology,31(3/4):257. 1996. [26th International Congress of Psychology; Montreal, QC, Canada.]

We show that changes in a scene are difficult to identify when brief blank fields are placed between successive displays of an original and a modified scene. This occurs even though changes continually repeat, and with full knowledge that something is changing. Verbal cues make identification easy, showing that the effect is not due to reduced visibility. It is also easy to spot changes in objects mentioned in brief verbal descriptions of the scene. We propose that attention is required to perceive change, and that it is attracted to those parts of a scene that are its centers of interest.

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