Change blindness: past, present, and future

Trends Cogn Sci. 2005 Jan;9(1):16-20. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2004.11.006.


Change blindness is the striking failure to see large changes that normally would be noticed easily. Over the past decade this phenomenon has greatly contributed to our understanding of attention, perception, and even consciousness. The surprising extent of change blindness explains its broad appeal, but its counterintuitive nature has also engendered confusions about the kinds of inferences that legitimately follow from it. Here we discuss the legitimate and the erroneous inferences that have been drawn, and offer a set of requirements to help separate them. In doing so, we clarify the genuine contributions of change blindness research to our understanding of visual perception and awareness, and provide a glimpse of some ways in which change blindness might shape future research.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Attention / physiology*
  • Awareness / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Perceptual Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Recognition, Psychology
  • Signal Detection, Psychological
  • Visual Perception / physiology*