Do pictures of faces, and which ones, capture attention in the inattentional blindness paradigm

C. Devue, C. Laloyaux, D. Feyers, J. Theeuwes, S. Bredart

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Abstract

Faces and self-referential material (eg one's own name) are more likely to capture attention in the inattentional-blindness (IB) paradigm than other stimuli. This effect is presumably due to the meaning of these stimuli rather than to their familiarity [Mack and Rock, 1998 Inattentional Blindness (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press)]. In previous work, IB has been investigated mostly with schematic stimuli. In the present study, the generalisability of this finding was tested with photographic stimuli. In support of the view that faces constitute a special category of stimuli, pictures of faces were found to resist more to IB than pictures of common objects (experiment1) or than pictures of inverted faces (experiment2). In a third experiment, the influence of face familiarity and identity (the participant's own face, a friend's face, and an unknown face) on IB rates was evaluated. Unexpectedly, no differential resistence to blindness across these three kinds of faces was found. In conclusion, pictures of faces attracted attention more than pictures of objects or inverted faces in the IB paradigm. However, this effect was not dependent on face familiarity or identity. © 2009 a Pion publication.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)552-568
JournalPerception
Volume38
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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