What is change blindness?

When a driver hits the road, it is crucial that they can pay attention to every small change around them. After all, this is what helps prevent crashes.

However, sometimes a person is unable to focus due to physical and neurological limitations. One example of this is change blindness.

Defining change blindness

The magazine Frontiers discusses change blindness and how it affects people every day. Change blindness occurs when someone puts all of their focus toward one thing in particular at the expense of everything else.

The brain automatically decides every second which pieces of information to keep and which to throw away. In fact, for every 2,000 pieces of information it takes in, it only makes a person consciously aware of around 20 of them.

This is the brain’s natural response to the enormous amount of stimuli surrounding a person. In order to keep from getting entirely overwhelmed with the sheer volume of information that exists, the brain simply takes in a select amount.

Crashes due to predictive models

Recent studies show that it takes in information based on pre-built expectations, too. Ergo, crashes often happen because something that a driver does not expect gets in the way of their driving. This can include animals darting in front of the car, other drivers cutting in front of them, inclement weather creating problems and so on.

Thus, people studying change blindness believe that it has a decent impact on the rate of accidents that occur between drivers on the road.