Oscillatory motion induces change blindness

Andrew Schofield, NJ Bishop, Jill Allen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Change blindness is the relative inability of normally sighted observers to detect large changes in scenes when the low-level signals associated with those changes are either masked or of extremely low magnitude. Change detection can be inhibited by saccadic eye movements, artificial saccades or blinks, and 'mud splashes'. We now show that change detection is also inhibited by whole image motion in the form of sinusoidal oscillations. The degree of disruption depends upon the frequency of oscillation, which at 3 Hz is equivalent to that produced by artificial blinks. Image motion causes the retinal image to be blurred and this is known to affect object recognition. However, our results are inconsistent with good change detection followed by a delay due to poor recognition of the changing object. Oscillatory motion can induce eye movements that potentially mask or inhibit the low-level signals related to changes in the scene, but we show that eye movements promote rather than inhibit change detection when the image is moving.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)249-274
Number of pages26
JournalActa Psychologica
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2006


  • change blindness
  • motion


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