Sustained inattentional blindness: The role of location in the detection of unexpected dynamic events

Steven B. Most, Daniel J. Simons, Brian J. Scholl, Christopher F. Chabris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Attempts to understand visual attention have produced models based on location, in which attention selects particular regions of space, and models based on other visual attributes (e.g., in which attention selects discrete objects or specific features). Previous studies of inattentional blindness have contributed to our understanding of attention by suggesting that the detection of an unexpected object depends on the distance of that object from the spatial focus of attention. When the distance of a briefly flashed object from both fixation and the focus of attention is systematically varied, detection appears to have a location-based component. However, the likelihood that people will detect an unexpected event in sustained and dynamic displays may depend on more than just spatial location. We investigated the influence of spatial location on inattentional blindness under precisely controlled, sustained and dynamic conditions. We found that although location-based models cannot fully account for the detection of unexpected objects, spatial location does play a role even when displays are visible for an extended period.

Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - Dec 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Attention
  • Attentional capture
  • Inattentional blindness
  • Perception
  • Selective looking
  • Vision
  • Visual cognition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Philosophy
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Artificial Intelligence


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