Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

Change Detection: Paying Attention To Detail Detail

By Erin Austen and James T. Enns


Changes made during a brief visual interruption sometimes go undetected, even when the object undergoing the change is at the center of the observer's interest and spatial attention (Simons & Levin, 1998). This study examined two potentially important attentional variables in change blindness: spatial distribution, manipulated via set size, and detail level, varied by having the change at either the global or local level of a compound letter. Experiment 1 revealed that both types of change were equally detectable in a single item, but that global change was detected more readily when attention was distributed among several items. Variation of target level probability in Experiment 2 showed further that observers could flexibly set the detail level in monitoring both single and multiple items. Sensitivity to change therefore depends not only on the spatial focus of attention; it depends critically on the match between the detail level of the change and the level-readiness of the observer

Topics: Cognitive Psychology
Publisher: Psyche
Year: 2000
OAI identifier:

Suggested articles


  1. (1995). Access to global and local properties in visual search for compound stimuli.
  2. (2000). Attenuated change blindness for exogenously attended items in a flicker paradigm. doi
  3. (1992). Combining expectancies.
  4. (1993). Coordination of what and where in visual attention.
  5. (1989). Do response time advantage and interference reflect the order of processing of global- and local-level information?
  6. (1983). Does global precedence really depend on visual angle? doi
  7. (1997). Failure to detect changes to attended objects in motion pictures.
  8. (1977). Forest before trees: The precedence of global features in visual perception. doi
  9. (1983). Forest before trees? It depends on where you look.
  10. (1982). Global precedence as a postperceptual effect: An analysis of speed-accuracy tradeoff functions.
  11. (1981). Global precedence in attention and decision.
  12. (1984). Global precedence in visual pattern recognition.
  13. (1979). Local and global processing: The role of sparsity.
  14. (1997). Object substitution: A new form of masking in unattended visual locations.
  15. (1996). On the failure to detect changes in scenes across saccades. In K. Akins (Ed.). Perception
  16. (1992). Primacy of wholistic processing and global/local paradigm: A critical review.
  17. (1996). Role of eccentricity and size in the global precedence effect.
  18. (1991). Selective and divided attention during visual discrimination of shape, color, and speed: Functional anatomy by positron emission tomography.
  19. (1984). Selective attention and the organization of visual information.
  20. (1993). Similarity between concurrent visual discriminations: Dimensions and objects.
  21. (1992). Solving the "real" mysteries of visual perception: The world as an outside memory. doi
  22. (1993). Spatial attention and cuing to global and local levels of hierarchical structure. doi
  23. (1999). Spatial frequency affects search slope but not attentional selection with hierarchically organized stimuli.
  24. (1990). The iconic bottleneck and the tenuous link between early visual processing and perception. In
  25. (1979). The order of visual processing: "Top-down," "bottom-up," or "middle-out".
  26. (1997). To see or not to see: The need for attention to perceive changes in scenes. doi
  27. (1994). Visual attention and objects: Two-object cost with equal convexity.
  28. (1992). Visual parsing and response competition: The effects of grouping.
  29. (2000). Visual search for change: A probe into the nature of attentional processing. doi
  30. (1996). Visual stability across saccades while viewing complex pictures.

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.