UCL News


Change blindness area identified

25 August 2005

A team led by Professor Nillie Lavie (UCL Psychology) has discovered why we are often affected by 'change blindness', the phenomenon that affects our ability to notice oblivious to major visual changes to our surroundings, such as a traffic light turning green when we're listening to the radio.

By employing Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), the team has identified the parietal cortex - the area of the brain responsible for concentration - as the culprit. The exact spot lies just a few centimetres above and behind the right ear, where many people scratch while concentrating.

The team applied TMS to the parietal cortex, causing it to temporarily 'switch off'. Without the use of this vital part of the brain, subjects consistently failed to notice that the photograph they were looking at of them had been changed to a different person.