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Article

Hide-and-seek around the centre of interest: The dead zone of attention revealed by change blindness

Visual Cognition. 2011. Vol. 19. No. 8. P. 1063-1088.

Three experiments examined spatial allocation of attention during active search for visual changes. In all experiments, there were three conditions of change location related to a centre of interest: (1) Central (most attended location itself), (2) near, and (3) far marginal change. In Experiment 1, participants showed the slowest search and the largest number of undetected changes in near condition. Moreover, they misidentified near changes more frequently than central and far ones. In Experiment 2, participants had to search for marginal changes in the presence of a once noticed central change that summoned additional attention to a central location. It resulted in further search slowing for near changes. In Experiment 3, participants searched for one of two concurrent marginal changes in the presence of a central one. They detected far changes about 2.3 times more frequently than near ones. Taken together, these results support the notion of «dead zone of attention» surrounding attentional focus. Several speculations about the nature of dead zone are discussed.