We sometimes fail to notice unexpected objects or events when our attention is directed elsewhere, a phenomenon called inattentional blindness. We explored whether unexpected objects that shared the color of consequential objects would be noticed more often. In three pre-registered experiments, participants played a custom video game in which they avoided both low- and high-cost missiles (Experiment 1 and 2) or tried to hit rewarding missiles while avoiding costly ones (Experiment 3). After participants had played the game for about 8 min, an unexpected object moved across the screen. Although participants selectively avoided more costly missiles when playing, they were no more likely to notice an unexpected object when its color was associated with greater costs. Apparently, people are no more likely to notice unexpected objects that are associated with negative consequences. Future research should examine whether objects that are themselves consequential are noticed more frequently.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)