Why are some People Inattentionally Blind and can Training reduce

Abstract

Inattentional Blindness (IB) occurs when an observer who is engaged in a resource consuming task fails to notice an unexpected although salient stimulus appearing in his/her visual field. The incidence of IB can be affected by changes in stimulus-driven properties of the display, but very little research has examined individual differences in propensity for IB. The current research examines individual differences in working memory capacity, processing styles (flicker task) and inhibition (Stroop task) in predicting IB. In addition, the influence of training on IB is also examined. Experiment 1 showed that although there were no differences between IB and NIB individuals (not inattentionally blind), in terms of processing styles, individuals with lower working memory capacity (WMC) were more likely to be IB. Experiment 2 examined differences in inhibition and working memory, and found that working memory predicted the probability of IB whereas inhibition did not. Levels of IB, however, were also influenced by prior training. Compared to no training, training on a task using the same primary task as that used in the IB task produced greater reductions in IB, as did training on a different task, where the effects were smaller, but significant. We conclude that IB is related to working memory capacity and that training can influence the incidence of IB.


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