Master of Arts (MA)



Document Type



The current study investigated the effects of cognitive load, in the presence or absence of distractors, during a dynamic inattentional blindness (IB) task on IB rate. IB is a phenomenon where one fails to notice an unexpected object (UEO) or event (UEE) that is in full view while attention is occupied. In the present study, the presence of distractors was manipulated (present/absent) to investigate the effects of selective attention in inattentional blindness when inhibition of distractors is required or not required. Undergraduates at Louisiana State University completed a visual task while listening to music embedded with sine wave tones (low load), or completed the same task and reported (via button press) when they heard a tone (medium load) or, in addition to reporting the occurrence of tones, participants reported the number of tones that occurred (high load). Predictions for results were discussed based on load theory of selective attention and cognitive control (Lavie, Hirst, de Fockert, & Viding, 2004) and general capacity theory (Engle, Cantor, & Carullo, 1992; Conway & Engle, 1996). The current study attempted to replicate and extend previous knowledge regarding how working memory (WM) and selective attention influence IB rates by replicating conditions present in previous studies, and including new conditions of greater load. Mixed support for load and general capacity theories was found. Participants were less likely to notice an unexpected object in the low load condition when distractors were present compared to absent.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Beck, Melissa



Included in

Psychology Commons