Saturday, July 9, 2011

Change Blindness

Change blindness can be defined as a phenomenon where the brain does not have a concise representation of the world, but one made up of partial details.  Young children are exposed to change blindness in games and puzzles that are reared for them.  One puzzle that is a representation of that is called Spot the Difference.  These childish puzzles first show an original image on the left, and almost the exact replica of the same picture on the right.  The right picture, however, will have a slight difference, whether it be as easy as a color change, or a tough one where a tiny sign had popped in the second picture.

Differences: yellow cookie on the bottom, clock time, salt and pepper shaker, bananas, etc.

This visual comparison is used in intelligence testing and is said to be the first stage in child's development of understanding geometry and measurement.  Researchers say that a series of these tests can also compute the "general intelligence factor".

If you didn't notice all the changes like me, you are experiencing inattentional blindness.  This means, even if it was in full view, you brain failed to perceive stimuli that wasn't attended.  If you are not paying particular attention to a certain object, you will never notice a change.  This type of change blindness is a less childlike way to test certain intelligences and brain activity in adults.  These two demonstrations are really interesting.  I never knew that a puzzle that teachers administered in elementary school would be something that I would later learn about in a psychology class.  It also is really impressive that these simple puzzles and videos can depict where on the learning spectrum an individual is.


  1. I find the inattentional blindness topic very interesting as well. I know there have been times that someone has been full view, but I completely missed their presence.
    I remember as a child playing with the puzzles in the Highlight magazines, you would have to find a list of certain objects hidden in the picture or circle the things that have changed in the picture these are all based on the same concepts of change blindness and inattentional blindness. I have gained a greater understanding of these phenomenonas. It makes me question the perceptions of witnesses in the criminal justice system. How reliable are their perceptions?

  2. I used to enjoy the activity in the Sunday newspaper where there were two pictures and you had to distinguish six differences between the two of them. Many of them were quite obvious, but others were very difficult to notice.

    One would think that when something changes it would be easy to distinguish the difference(s), but if our attention is diverted elsewhere, detecting the change may prove to be problematic.

  3. I think this topic is very interesting and enjoyable as well. I can never pick up on certain changes even in everyday life. I personally think this topic is very big in perception and everyone should get a greater feel for it.

    I do enjoy seeing all the differences I can find in "the same picture." And also seeing how many I could not pick up on.