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Behav Res Methods. 2014 Sep;46(3):689-701. doi: 10.3758/s13428-013-0414-2.

The scene and the unseen: manipulating photographs for experiments on change blindness and scene memory: image manipulation for change blindness.

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1
Institute of Medical Psychology, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Luisenstraße 57, 10117, Berlin, Germany.

Abstract

The change blindness paradigm, in which participants often fail to notice substantial changes in a scene, is a popular tool for studying scene perception, visual memory, and the link between awareness and attention. Some of the most striking and popular examples of change blindness have been demonstrated with digital photographs of natural scenes; in most studies, however, much simpler displays, such as abstract stimuli or "free-floating" objects, are typically used. Although simple displays have undeniable advantages, natural scenes remain a very useful and attractive stimulus for change blindness research. To assist researchers interested in using natural-scene stimuli in change blindness experiments, we provide here a step-by-step tutorial on how to produce changes in natural-scene images with a freely available image-processing tool (GIMP). We explain how changes in a scene can be made by deleting objects or relocating them within the scene or by changing the color of an object, in just a few simple steps. We also explain how the physical properties of such changes can be analyzed using GIMP and MATLAB (a high-level scientific programming tool). Finally, we present an experiment confirming that scenes manipulated according to our guidelines are effective in inducing change blindness and demonstrating the relationship between change blindness and the physical properties of the change and inter-individual differences in performance measures. We expect that this tutorial will be useful for researchers interested in studying the mechanisms of change blindness, attention, or visual memory using natural scenes.

PMID:
24311058
DOI:
10.3758/s13428-013-0414-2
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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