The spatial allocation of attention in an interactive environment

Katherine Wood, Daniel J. Simons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Inattentional blindness methods allow for an unobtrusive measure of the spatial distribution of attention; because subjects do not expect the critical object, they have no reason to devote attention to task-irrelevant regions in anticipation of it. We used inattentional blindness to examine the spatial allocation of attention in an interactive game in which subjects navigated through a dynamic environment and avoided hazards. Subjects were most likely to notice unexpected objects in the areas with the greatest risk of contact with a hazard, and less likely to notice equally proximal objects in inaccessible areas of the display or areas in which hazards no longer posed a threat. These results suggest that both the content of the environment and how a subject can interact with it influence the spatial allocation of attention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number13
JournalCognitive Research: Principles and Implications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019


  • Inattentional blindness
  • Interactive environment
  • Spatial attention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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