Attention

Cognitive Daily

Category archives for Attention

Yesterday’s post showed that our memory for objects depends on the background information available when we first see the object: If you see a toy in a room, you remember it better later if you see it again in the room. Being in the same position in a blank picture of the room doesn’t help.…

Change blindness is a truly remarkable phenomenon. There are so many ways that the human perceptual system can be tricked into missing a change that appears right before our eyes, that it’s sometimes astonishing that we aren’t constantly running into walls or misplacing the basics of life — our car keys, wallet, our what were…

We can quickly spot a face staring at us in a crowd. We can do this much quicker, for example, than we can determine that no one is staring at us, as this movie demonstrates. A grid of 100 pictures of Greta will be flashed for about 1/3 of a second. Can you spot the…

Remember this video? A few weeks ago we used it to demonstrate that facial expressions can disrupt the perceptual system in fundamental ways. Actually, because we could only show a few short clips, we weren’t able to duplicate the research results found by John Eastwood, Daniel Smilek, and Philip Merikle. But in their, more comprehensive…

Take a look at this quick movie. You’ll be shown a “ready” screen, followed by a quick flash of eight letters arranged in a circle. Your job is to spot either a “Z” or a “K” in that circle of letters, while ignoring other letters appearing outside of the circle. You’ll see two different circles…

Take a look at these pictures. Each picture depicts four shapes — irregular vertical columns spanning the height of the picture. It’s easy to tell which letter is on a column and which is not, right? If our readers are typical, over 90 percent would agree that a is on a column and b is…

[Originally posted in May, 2007] “I just didn’t see him” is a claim that’s repeated over and over in accident reports. Drivers earnestly claim that they simply didn’t notice the bicycle/pedestrian/motorcycle they crashed into. The claim is made so frequently that certainly there must be a grain of truth to it. Yet it certainly isn’t…

When we’re in a crowded space, making visual judgments becomes more difficult. But it doesn’t take much to trigger a crowding effect. Clicking on the picture below will take you to a quick movie (QuickTime required) that should demonstrate the effect. Focus on the cross to the left, then start the movie (it may start…

Do you multitask? I’m not talking about literally doing two things at once, like emailing while talking on the phone, or playing the trombone while washing the dishes. I’m talking about the more common phenomenon of starting one project before you’re finished with another. For example, after I read the journal article I’ll be discussing…

Take a look at the short movie I’ve linked below (Click on the picture to play. QuickTime required). The movie shows a virtual gripping device (two red balls) lifting rectangular objects and placing them on a conveyor belt. Do you notice anything unusual happening as the objects are being moved? This is a recording of…