Detection of Threats under Inattentional Blindness and Perceptual Load
Inattentional blindness refers to the failure to detect the salient unexpected stimuli in one’s visual field when performing an attention-demanding task. The present study examined the detection of threats in a static inattentional blindness paradigm. And the detection rates of evolutionary and ontogenetic threats were compared. Participants counted the number of color words from among three (low load) or six (high load) items presented in a circular array. On the last of six trials, an unexpected threatening/neutral illustration was presented in the center of the array along with the task stimuli. Participants detection of the illustration were thus measured and analyzed. The results suggested that: (1) the threatening stimuli, both evolutionary and ontogenetic, were detected more frequently than non-threatening stimuli; (2) the unexpected illustrations were identified more frequently under low-load condition than under high-load condition; (3) even under high-load situation, the threatening illustrations were more frequently identified than neutral ones. Threats are more likely to be detected under inattentional blindness and perceptual load.
KeywordsThreat detection bias Inattentional blindness Perceptual load Load theory
We appreciate the two anonymous reviewers for their comments on the early version of this work.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
Conflict of Interest
There is no conflict of interest.
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