Attention Marketers: Humans are Blind to Change

When we look at a scene, our eyes move around quickly, 70 to 100 times a second, locating anything noteworthy.  This visual input is translated into a mental memory map by our brains. These quick eye movements are called saccades

Saccadic movement is what causes Change Blindnessa perceptual phenomenon that occurs when humans fail to detect seemingly obvious changes to scenes around them

Example of images that can be used in a change blindness task
As a result when we see we unconsciously focus on areas that our evolutionary biases deem important (often anything moving fast, anything that looks like a living thing that may be a potential friend or foe). The brain automatically fills in the rest of the details from its memory map — often disregarding details that it thinks it has seen before. 

"The Door Study" a 1998 study by Daniel Simons and Daniel Levin is the one of the most popular study to demonstrate how change blindness occurs in the real world.


While "The Gradual Change Test" highlights how humans fail to notice slow, gradual changes in their surroundings.


A 2015 ad, used this phenomenon to position Skoda Fabia as having 'Attention Stealing Design'.




A newer research in this field has shown that addition or removal of an object from the scene is detected more readily than changes in the color of the object. 

These findings have some unique implications for the field of advertising and visual designing!

Supplement with:
Seeing the world as it isn't , TED Talk by Daniel Simons

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