A comparison of change blindness and the visual perception of museum artefacts in real-world and on-screen scenarios
Attwood JE., Kennard C., Harris J., Antoniades CA.
© Springer International Publishing AG. All rights reserved. Change blindness is a phenomenon of visual perception that occurs when a stimulus undergoes a change without this being noticed by its observer. Since it was first described in the 1990s, change blindness has provided a unique means to investigate the role of attention in visual processing. To date, the effect has been produced by changing images displayed on screen as well as changing people and objects in an individual's environment. In this study, we combine these two approaches to directly compare the levels of change blindness produced in real-world and on-screen scenarios. We use a single series of museum artefacts and two groups of participants to simultaneously produce saccade-contingent change blindness in a real-world scenario, and camera pan-contingent change blindness in an on-screen scenario. We present the results in two parts. First, we find no significant difference between the mean levels of change blindness produced in on-screen and real-world scenarios by the same visual stimuli. Second, we identify a group of artefacts that were associated with a high level of change blindness in both scenarios and a group that were associated with a low level of change blindness in both scenarios. We suggest that the difference in change blindness levels results from bottom-up influences including the visible area and contrast of changes. We discuss the relation of these findings to our understanding of change detection as a part of visual processing, as well as the insights they offer to our understanding of the experience of viewing objects within a museum setting.