Differential Functioning of Retrieval/Comparison Processing in Detection of the Presence and Absence of Change

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Abstract

Background:The phenomenon of change blindness may reflect the failure to detect the presence of change or the absence of change. Although performing the latter is considered more difficult than the former, the differential functioning of retrieval/comparison processing that leads to differences between the detection of the presence and the absence of change has not been clarified. This study aimed to fill this research gap by comparing performance in the detection of the presence and the absence of a change in one item among a set of items.Methodology/Principal Findings:Twenty subjects performed two types of change detection tasks, the first task was detection of one changed item among a set of unchanged items (detection of the presence of a change) and the other was the detection of one unchanged item among a set of changed items (detection of the absence of a change). The ANOVA results for the percentage of correct responses and signal detection measurement of A' values regarding change detection and the pattern of the results indicate that the subjects found (1) detection of the presence of change less difficult than detection of the absence of change (2), rejection of the presence of change less difficult than acceptance of the presence of change, and (3) rejection of the absence of change as difficult as acceptance of the absence of change.Conclusions/Significance:Retrieval/comparison processing for the detection of the presence of change differs from that for the absence of change, likely because the retrieval/comparison process appears aimed at determining whether an item has changed but not whether an item appears the same as it had previously. This conclusion suggests the existence of an identification process that recognizes each item as the same as that observed previously that exists apart from the mechanism underlying retrieval/comparison processing. © 2013 Murakoshi et al.

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Murakoshi, T., Hisa, M., Wada, Y., & Osada, Y. (2013). Differential Functioning of Retrieval/Comparison Processing in Detection of the Presence and Absence of Change. PLoS ONE, 8(6). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0068789

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