Gender differences on a change blindness task

Rebecca Furspan, The College of Wooster


The aim of the current study was to determine if any observable differences exist between males and females in performance on a change blindness task. Participants were shown one of two videos taken from the study by Levin and Simons (1997). One video included a change of actor during a cut in the film, the other video was of two women having a conversation; during their conversation, cuts in the film covered various changes made to the women and to details of the setting. Because gender differences have been shown to exist in accuracy of recall for the appearance of others (Horgan, McGrath, & Long, 2009; Horgan, Schmid Mast, Hall, & Carter, 2004; Schmid Mast & Hall, 2006) it was hypothesized that women would be more likely to notice both the identity change and more of the changes in the conversation video. In addition, participants were administered the object identity and object location tasks developed by Silverman and Eals (1992). The object identity and object location tasks served as a measure of spatial memory that was then compared to performance on the change blindness task. Higher scores on both the object identity and object location memory tasks were predicted to be connected with higher rate of change detection due to the similarity of the demands on VSTM. The results of this study did not support these hypotheses, but did provide further evidence for the robustness of change blindness, as a majority of the participants in either condition did not notice any of the changes that occurred in either video. No significant differences were found between the genders in the detection of change in either video.