Change Blindness: The Flicker Paradigm

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It may seem quite simple to detect changes in a given environment, especially the one you are living in, but the sensation called “change blindness,” puts this to shame. Change blindness is when a change in a visual stimulus occurs and the observer does not notice. There are many methods of studying change blindness, and one of them happens to called the “flicker paradigm.” The flicker paradigm is when an image, as well as altered image, flip back and forth very quickly and when the change is detected, the observer must push a button. The flicker paradigm was experimented by Rensink O’Regan and Clark (1997) to show that change blindness can occur even when the observer’s attention is fixated on an image. Attention in this experiment is known …show more content…

Having an image and an altered image switch back and forth with a blank screen in-between set up the study. The blank screen hid the alterations, making it harder for observers to notice the change. There was a control group, who did not receive hints as to where the change was happening in the images, which is the treatment. The other group, the experimental group, did receive hints as to where the change was happening. As predicted, the control group’s results were much lower than the experimenters showing that change can happen even when one is focused on the image and with the smallest disruptions. In conclusion, “changes to objects that are central to the meaning of the scene or changes to visually distinctive objects are detected more readily than other changes, presumably because observers focus attention on important objects” (Rensink et al., …show more content…

If one draws a “1”, they will be placed in the control group and receive zero treatment, meaning no hints. If one draws a “2”, they will be placed in the experimental group and receive treatment, meaning hints as to where the change occurs in the flicker paradigm image. There will be ten different trials of the flicker paradigm, each one being about 12 seconds long; two trials will be given as a “practice trial.” Each subject, no matter the group, will record when and where they see the change when the images play, keeping each trial separate and neat. At the end of the ten trials, the correct results will be notified to the subjects and they will see how many the got correct. From there, all the correct answers will be accounted for each group (control/ experimental) and whichever group has the highest data count will give way to see if attention helps detect change

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