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The Abrupt Onset Effect and Its Influence Factors in Change Blindness

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Tutor: HuFengPei
School: Zhejiang University of Technology
Course: Applied Psychology
Keywords: change blindness,spatial frequency,visual masking,attention,abrupt-onset
CLC: TP391.41
Type: Master's thesis
Year:  2011
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Abstract:
People often fail to detect the changes to objects or scenes. The phenomenon is called“change blindness”. Across saccades, blinks, blank screens, movie cuts, mudsplashes, and other interruptions, observers fail to detect substantial changes to the visual details of objects and scenes. Researchers used these visual interruptions to produce change blindness and formed various experimental paradigms. These experimental paradigms revealed the cognitive processing mechanism of change blindness from different aspects of attention and representation. However, the question of what is the role of attention played in change blindness they only involves visual interruptions destroying bottom-up processing process. And the specific mechanism of attention in change blindness is also lack of deep exploration and evidence. We argued that the abrupt-onset produces attentional capture and causes the attention of bottom-up processing transferring to abrupt- onset objects , and this could be the reason of change blindness.In view of this, the study adopted low-pass gaussian filtering technology to change the attributes of photos and proved that change blindness phenomenon had abrupt onset effect in mudsplash paradigm. Then, the research confirmed this assumptions through the experiment one.Secondly, this study explores two factors:the visual contrast and the amount of abrupt-onset object (quantity and size of abrupt onset objects). The two factors play a key role in abrupt onset effect of change blindness.Experiment two and experiment three used low-pass gaussian filtering technology to change the spatial frequency of pictures to control the visual contrast of abrupt onset objects, in order to study whether the integral masking and the local mudsplash masking can trigger change blindness phenomenon. And discussed whether the change detection performance are influenced by masking level and masking time in this paradigm. Results proved that both visual contrast and masking time influenced the performance of change detection.On the basis of experiment three, experiment four controlled the amount of abrupt onset object (quantity and size of masking piece) by changing the quantity of mudsplash masking pieces. The results showed that the amount of mudsplash masking pieces affected the change detection performance. Experiment five equaled the masking area and divided it into 1、4and 9 identical pieces in mudsplash paradigm in order to solve the dispute of quantity and size of masking piece. Experiment five found that the quantity of masking piece plays a key role in abrupt-onsets’attentional capture.These research conclusions supported the "overwriting" hypothesis and further verified the segmentation theories of namely attention spotlight which can be divided into 4-5 beames and track 4-5 object at the same time.
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