Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Change Blindness - How to use a door for a person change

These videos show a subject witnessing a "person change" in studies reported by Simons and Levin (1998). In this clip, an experimenter approached a pedestrian to ask for directions. While the pedestrian was providing directions, two additional experimenters rudely passed between the initial experimenter and the pedestrian. During this brief interruption, the original experimenter was replaced by a different person. Even though the two experimenters looked quite different and had distinctly different voices, approximately 50 percent of the subjects failed to notice that they were talking to a different person after the door passed. Interestingly, those who noticed tended to be from the same social group (students) as the experimenters, and those who failed to notice tended to be older than the experimenters. To explore this in-group/out-group effect, we conducted a second experiment in which the same two experimenters were dressed as construction workers. By making the experimenters members of an outgroup for the younger subjects, we were able to reduce noticing from close to 100 percent to only 35 percent.

Video 1
Video 2

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