Change Blindness as a Result of 'Mudsplashes'
J.K. O'Regan, Laboratoire de Psychologie Experimentale, CNRS, Paris.
R.A. Rensink, Cambridge Basic Research, Nissan Research & Development, Inc., Cambridge MA, USA.
J.J. Clark, Electrical Engineering Department, McGill University, Montreal QC, Canada.

Nature, 398: 34. 1999.  


Change blindness occurs when large changes are missed under natural viewing conditions because they occur simultaneously with a brief visual disruption, perhaps caused by an eye movement, a flicker, a blink, or a camera cut in a film sequence. We have found that this can occur even when the disruption does not cover or obscure the changes. When a few small, high contrast shapes are briefly spattered over a picture, like mudsplashes on a car windshield, large changes can be made simultaneously without these being noticed. This phenomenon is potentially important in driving, surveillance or navigation, as dangerous events can go unnoticed if they coincide with even very small, apparently innocuous disturbances. It is also important for understanding the way the brain represents the visual world.

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