Visual and phonological codes in repetition blindness

J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform. 1992 Feb;18(1):134-47. doi: 10.1037//0096-1523.18.1.134.


Repetition blindness (RB) is the inability to detect or recall a repeated word in rapid serial visual presentation. The role of visual versus phonological (name) similarity in RB was examined. RB was found for single letters, whether printed in the same or different cases, and for single digits, whether represented verbally (nine), as arabic numerals (9), or in a mixture of the 2 formats. Hence, visual similarity is not necessary to produce RB. RB was obtained between homophonic pairs (won/one), showing that phonological similarity is sufficient to produce RB, although visual identity also contributes to RB. It is proposed that RB results when the codes used for initial registration of the targets in short-term memory are similar. This initial code may be predominantly visual or predominantly phonological.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Memory*
  • Models, Psychological
  • Task Performance and Analysis
  • Time Factors
  • Visual Perception*