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When Distractions Distort Reality

A new study published online recently in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance suggests that distractions may alter our perception of what’s real, “making us believe we saw something different from what we actually saw.”

Worse, the study also suggests that people may not be aware that their perception was already altered. Rather, they might feel great confidence in what they believe they saw.

“We wanted to find out what happens if you’re trying to pay attention to one thing and something else interferes,” said Julie Golomb, senior author and associate professor of psychology at The Ohio State University. “Our visual environment contains way too many things for us to process in a given moment, so how do we reconcile those pressures?”
The results… indicate that, sometimes, we don’t.
“It implies that there are deeper consequences of having your attention drawn away that might actually change what you are perceiving,” said Golomb, who is director of Ohio State’s Vision and Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory. “It showed us that we clearly don’t understand the full implications of distraction.”

Know more about the study at Ohio State News.

This study reminds me of how close-up magicians manipulate our perception of reality. What do you think?

(Image Credit: geralt/ Pixabay)


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