Publication Details

Keane, S. & Palmisano, S. A. (2004). What can change blindness tell us about the visual processing of complex objects?. In M. Katsikitis (Eds.), Proceedings of the 39th APS Annual Conference (pp. 148-151). Australia: Australian Psychological Society.


Processing visual information about objects in our environment is an essential and widely used skill. However, recent research in change blindness suggests that humans are remarkably poor at detecting certain types of changes to objects. In particular, changes to the configuration of an object's parts are detected quicker and more accurately than changes to the shape of the parts or a switching of parts. The implication of this finding is that information regarding the layout or configuration of an object is better encoded than finer details, like part shape. The aim of the current study was to determine whether this configural advantage in change detection is a consequence of the type or simply the amount of information involved in a change. Specifically, we kept change type constant while manipulating the complexity (number of parts) of the stimulus objects. Results showed that changes to the configuration of parts were detected quickly and most accurately, regardless of object complexity. The detection of part shape and switch changes, however, was influenced by object complexity. Importantly, these results suggest that the nature of the configural change rather than its relative magnitude is critical for successful change detection.