Vasili MARSHEV1,*, Andrey CHETVERIKOV2,1,3, Maria KUVALDINA1,4
1 Department of Psychology, Saint Petersburg State University, Saint Petersburg, Russia
2 Faculty of Psychology, School of Health Sciences, University of Iceland, Reykjavik, Iceland
3 Cognitive Research Lab, Russian Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, Moscow, Russia
4 Farmingdale College, State University of New York, New York, USA
Visual attention accounts for selectivity in visual perception. It allows the thorough analysis of the region of interest while everything else receives shallower processing. Change blindness is one of the demonstrations of this trade-off. We ran an experiment to test if distraction can lead to change blindness when it occurs right after observers fixated at the changing object. Participants performed two tasks while their gaze position was monitored with an eye tracker. The primary task was to search for a changing target amongst other pictures in an array of objects, while the secondary task was to detect a small gray dot that appeared on the screen when participants’ gaze was oriented towards the target location. In addition, the same dot was presented at random periods in time when observers were looking at the distractors. Participants had to respond by pressing a key as fast as they could when they saw the dot. We hypothesized that this secondary task would interfere with the main task, because it would require redirection of attention. Results show that peripheral distractor leads to interference evidenced by significant increases in search times, although changes in duration and number of fixations on target were only marginally significant. Findings indicate that distraction at the moment of fixation on target can be one of the sources of change blindness.
KEYWORDS: change blindness, change detection, eye movements, eccentricity, dual task
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