What's scene and not seen: Influences of movement and task upon what we see

Guy Wallis, Heinrich Bülthoff

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

66 Citations (Scopus)


Studies concerning the processing of natural scenes using eye movement equipment have revealed that observers retain surprisingly little information from one fixation to the next. Other studies, in which fixation remained constant while elements within the scene were changed, have shown that, even without refixation, objects within a scene are surprisingly poorly represented. Although this effect has been studied in some detail in static scenes, there has been relatively little work on scenes as we would normally experience them, namely dynamic and ever changing. This paper describes a comparable form of change blindness in dynamic scenes, in which detection is performed in the presence of simulated observer motion. The study also describes how change blindness is affected by the manner in which the observer interacts with the environment, by comparing detection performance of an observer as the passenger or driver of a car. The experiments show that observer motion reduces the detection of orientation and location changes, and that the task of driving causes a concentration of object analysis on or near the line of motion, relative to passive viewing of the same scene.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)175-190
Number of pages16
JournalVisual Cognition
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished - 2000

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Please address all correspondence to G. Wallis, Department of Human Movement Studies, Queensland University, St. Lucia 4072, Queensland, Australia. Email: gwallis@hms.qu.edu.au We are grateful to William Hayward, to the editor, and the two referees for helpful comments and suggestions. Guy Wallis was supported by a grant from the Motor Accident Insurance Commission and a Max-Planck Society Research Fellowship.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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