A Comparison of Change Blindness in Real-World and On-Screen Viewing of Museum Artefacts.
Attwood JE., Kennard C., Harris J., Humphreys G., Antoniades CA.
Change blindness is a phenomenon of visual perception that occurs when a stimulus undergoes a change without this being noticed by its observer. To date, the effect has been produced by changing images displayed on screen as well as changing people and objects in an individual's environment. In this experiment, we combine these two approaches to directly compare the levels of change blindness produced in real-world vs. on-screen viewing of museum artefacts. In the real-world viewing condition, one group of participants viewed a series of pairs of similar but slightly different artefacts across eye saccades, while in the on-screen viewing condition, a second group of participants viewed the same artefacts across camera pans on video captured from a head-mounted camera worn by the first set of participants. We present three main findings. First, that change blindness does occur in a museum setting when similar ancient artefacts are viewed briefly one after another in both real-world and on-screen viewing conditions. We discuss this finding in relation to the notion that visual perceptual performance may be enhanced within museums. Second, we found that there was no statistically significant difference between the mean levels of change blindness produced in real-world and on-screen viewing conditions (real-world 42.62%, on-screen 47.35%, X2 = 1.626, p > 0.05 1 d.f.). We discuss possible implications of these results for understanding change blindness, such as the role of binocular vs. monocular vision and that of head and eye movements, as well as reflecting on the evolution of change detection systems, and the impact of the experimental design itself on our results. Third, we combined the data from both viewing conditions to identify groups of artefacts that were independently associated with high and low levels of change blindness, and show that change detection rates were influenced mainly by bottom-up factors, including the visible area and contrast of changes. Finally, we discuss the limitations of this experiment and look to future directions for research into museum perception, change blindness, real-world and on-screen comparisons, and the role of bottom-up and top-down factors in the perception of change.