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3. Attention: Hacks 34–43 > 40. Blind to Change

Blind to Change

We don’t memorize every detail of a visual scene. Instead, we use the world as its own best representation—continually revisiting any bits we want to think about. This saves the brain time and resources, but can make us blind to changes.

Both our vision [See the Limits of Your Vision] and attention [Detail and the Limits of Attention] have far coarser resolutions than we’d have thought. What’s more, there are gaps in our vision across time [Glimpse the Gaps in Your Vision] and in space [Map Your Blind Spot], but our brains compensate for these gaps and knit together a rather seamless impression of the world.

And this gapless impression is utterly convincing. Most of the time we don’t even realize that there are holes in the information we’re getting. And so we believe we experience more of the world than we actually do. There are two possibilities as to what’s going on here. The first is that we build a model inside our heads of the world we can see. You can test to see whether this is the case.


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