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Strong Emotions May Cause Temporary Blindness

ScuttleMonkey posted about 9 years ago | from the it's-not-my-fault dept.

Science 367

Iphtashu Fitz writes "Ever been watching tv when a violent image comes on the screen and you don't even notice that somebody just entered the room? You've just encountered something known as emotion-induced blindness. Psychologists at Vanderbilt and Yale Universities have determined that people can suffer short periods of blindness, up to 1/2 a second in length, immediately after seeing highly emotional images. By displaying a series of images for 1/10 of a second each they were able to determine that test subjects couldn't identify images shown immediately after very erotic or gory images. You can try this out for yourself at the flash-based test site they have set up which also contains more details of the experiments."

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Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13343892)

is that why im blind? (1)

Jubalicious (203314) | about 9 years ago | (#13344226)

no, that's why your friends don't want to hang out at your house.

Situational awareness (4, Interesting)

BWJones (18351) | about 9 years ago | (#13343895)

Blindness is a poor and imprecise term for this finding and these findings are simply an extension of work performed in situational awareness. As one who's research deals with the neuroscience of vision and blindness, I have to say that "attention" or even "situational awareness: would be a better word/term, rather than "blindness". No offense to the authors of this study, but that sort of terminology might be expected of psychologists. :-) Seriously though, blindness implies a fundamental defect in the visual processing pathways as opposed to a failure to bring attention to a change in presentation due to conflicts of attention in higher or associative cortical processing. Now, if they demonstrated a lack of visual evoked potential in cortex, that might be something.

The failure to attend to or notice changes in your environment due to more traffic in cortical associative areas is not surprising really, and has long been known by cognitive scientists working with Air Force pilots. The more tasks required or stress induced upon a situation will degrade attentive performance and result in missing changes introduced into the environment.

For all you gamers out there, this is sort of an intuitive concept, right? How many times have you missed the doorbell, telephone or significant other trying to get ahold of you in the middle of a Doom/Marathon/Unreal fragfest? You increase the number of participants (and thus tasks to attend to) and you decrease your situational awareness of your immediate surroundings.

Re:Situational awareness (4, Funny)

Dunbal (464142) | about 9 years ago | (#13343949)

How many times have you missed the doorbell, telephone or significant other

      I never miss my significant other. I frag her all the time, DIE BIATCH lol lol 5h3 iz 5o l4/v\3 lol pWn3d a64iN!!!!

Re:Situational awareness (1)

zerocool^ (112121) | about 9 years ago | (#13344297)

k, tnx, gg, no re noob.

Re:Situational awareness (1)

darkonc (47285) | about 9 years ago | (#13343970)

.... I have to say that "attention" or even "situational awareness: would be a better word/term, rather than "blindness".

It does, however, explain the phrases like 'blind rage'.

I'm guessing that the mind is 'stopping' to process full information out of the shocking image -- which means that processing of subsequent information is minimal/lost.

Why not "blindness'? (1)

Tsu Dho Nimh (663417) | about 9 years ago | (#13344027)

If you want to make the effect comprehensible to Joe Sixpack, words like "attention" or "situational awareness" are too vague, too hich on the abstraction scale. "Blindness", in the commonly accepted meaning of "unable to see" is a concrete word.

"Hysterical blindness" is an accepted term for a condition where the physical parts are working but the processing is either not happening or not being accepted by whatever accepts vision. And how about those poor "stripe-blind" kittens that were reared with nothing but strong vertical or horizontal lines ... and became unable to "see" lines in the other direction.

Obviously, the next step is to see whether the inputs briefly shut down, or if the input is ignored because of a rush of brain activity.

Re:Why not "blindness'? (4, Insightful)

BWJones (18351) | about 9 years ago | (#13344063)

If you want to make the effect comprehensible to Joe Sixpack,....

Yes, but they also use the term in their peer reviewed paper in addition to the popular press articles.

"Hysterical blindness" is an accepted term for a condition...

Situational awareness.

And how about those poor "stripe-blind" kittens that were reared with nothing but strong vertical or horizontal lines...

That is a form of "cortical blindness" that is real and has to do with developmental defects in the visual pathways.

Obviously, the next step is to see whether the inputs briefly shut down, or if the input is ignored because of a rush of brain activity.

$100 says it is the latter and if I were reviewing this paper, I would suggest just that experiment prior to acceptance for publication.

Re:Why not "blindness'? (1)

BlightThePower (663950) | about 9 years ago | (#13344155)

Agreed. I can't read the actual article, but I'm put strongly in mind of the so-called "attentional blink"; it would seem reasonable to relate the two phenomena. The presence of Marvin Chun (who has published on the subject before; Chun & Potter, 1995, being pretty well known) lends weight to my suspicions.

Re:Why not "blindness'? (4, Insightful)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 9 years ago | (#13344132)

Why not 'blindness'?
Because calling it "blindness" doesn't promote comprehension; instead, it promotes confusion. Calling it "blindness" implys that there's some kind of physiological defect, which is inaccurate. "Distraction" would be closer to what's actually going on here.

It's kind of like how people like to use "stealing" to describe copyright infringement -- they're superficially similar, but not synonymous.

Generally, things should be referred to by the term that accurately describes them. Why else would we have different words to describe different things?

Re:Situational awareness (4, Funny)

Mancow (887021) | about 9 years ago | (#13344065)

Reminds me of the episode of King Of The Hill where Hank went blind at Christmas after seeing his mom having sex...

Also known as... (3, Funny)

hummassa (157160) | about 9 years ago | (#13344104)

Paying attention to something :-)

Re:Situational awareness (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13344123)

Exactly. The research is neither novel nor well-described. Non-novel because everyone knows that when you "shock" someone, their attention focuses on whatever shocked them, at the expense of other things in the environment. Poorly-described because it's not a change in the physiological ability to see, but rather, like you said, awareness.

Seriously, stuff like this makes me question whether most of science is pursuing useless research. It doesn't help that only a small number of people peer-review any paper. Even if those people are experts, it's not uncommon for the best insights to come from outside any given field.

Another Situational awareness demo (1)

Oxen (879661) | about 9 years ago | (#13344154)

There is a very interesting online java demo available here [] that gives a great example of "sustained inattentional blindness". It is provided as a supplement to a paper published in "Perception. 1999;28(9):1059-74." In the video, the audience is told to count how many times the white team passes the ball. During the video, a man in a gorilla suit walks by, and most people fail to notice him. I have spoiled it however, and now you will NOT be unable to notice him.

Re:Situational awareness (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13344208)


You may wish to review the research interests in an experimental psychology department. You'll find the range of research spans the (sub-)cellular (e.g., LTP) to group dynamics, including computational modelling. Anytime someone takes the easy way out to belittle another group the audience gains some insight into that person's critical thinking skills. The smiley does nothing...

BTW, chances are a good many of those "cognitive scientists" in the Air Force are PhDs in experimental psychology - psychologists - within the domain of Cognitition and/or Perception. Given all the papers on 'change blindness' the findings are clearly not surprising, rather I assume that the authors have their own reason to pursue that protocol or line of research - as in any discipline. [No, I don't know if they did a good job or whether they are skilled researchers because I have not read the paper.]

-- As a "neuroscientist" have ever bothered to follow-up on the history of many of those you might reference?

Re:Situational awareness (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13344273)

Agreed. A test that would eliminate any emotion from the situation is to have one of the pictures be a few words. I bet you'd find that people concentrate on trying to read the words and thus miss the next couple of pictures.

Frost! (1)

Monkeman (827301) | about 9 years ago | (#13343897)


loffle (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13343898)

rofflemayo []

Rage? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13343901)

Gives a whole new meaning to the phrase 'Blind with rage'

Re:Rage? (1)

Rei (128717) | about 9 years ago | (#13343956)

Coming next: A new "subliminal message" craze involving messages places right after erotic or gory images.

Re:Rage? (3, Insightful)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | about 9 years ago | (#13344024)

``Gives a whole new meaning to the phrase 'Blind with rage'''

Or rather, it confirms that these expressions actually come from somewhere. Many of the folk wisdows contained in various expressions turn out to contain at least a grain of truth once scientific research catches up with them.

On Slashdot? (4, Funny)

maxmg (555112) | about 9 years ago | (#13343902)

Now that's a very good idea to put a reference to erotic images and a link to a flash-based site on the main page of slashporn^H^H^H^Hdot.

Re:On Slashdot? (4, Funny)

screwballicus (313964) | about 9 years ago | (#13343982)

But an astute observation, consequently. Erotic images of Slashdotters might indeed be expected to cause not only temporary but indeed much more permanent forms of blindness amongst afflicted test subjects.

Re:On Slashdot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13344079)

Erotic images of Slashdotters might indeed be expected to cause not only temporary but indeed much more permanent forms of blindness amongst afflicted test subjects.

Also hairy palm syndrome. With all the debilitating condidtions caused by pornography it's amazing the geek community can function at all.

Re:On Slashdot? (1)

Vombatus (777631) | about 9 years ago | (#13344213)

Hence the phrase "Stop it, or you will go blind"

Goatse? (1)

ad0gg (594412) | about 9 years ago | (#13344000)

Blindness last longer than a split second though, its a good 5 minutes before i can see normally again.

Re:On Slashdot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13344046)


We found the reason, not just temporary!

SEP (1)

xylon (552609) | about 9 years ago | (#13343905)

Somebody Else's Problem... Art imitating life, or life imitating art?

Proof at long last! (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13343907)

Wanking DOES cause blindness.

Strong Emotions... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13343912)

or a tight grip on yer pecker?

VBScript (5, Funny)

hattan (869918) | about 9 years ago | (#13343913)

It all makes sense now. I was wondering why I could never find the mouse after reading VB code.

Re:VBScript (1)

MBHkewl (807459) | about 9 years ago | (#13343966)

Are you sure it's the VB code? not the "Long Left-Hand Mousing Sessions"??? (assuming you're right-handed) ;p

Take it easy on yourself, and you'll eventually make it through.

VB makes babies cry.

Re:VBScript (1)

zx75 (304335) | about 9 years ago | (#13344135)

Wow... I need to start paying more attention to VB code! Usually I don't find it that erotic, but I might have to give it another try.

This Just In (1, Funny)

Icyfire0573 (719207) | about 9 years ago | (#13343916)

This just in... Pr0n does make you blind... Temporarily at least

Re:This Just In (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13344170)

Oh shit, guess that explains the funny look I get from my folks after my wanking session!

Somebody has to say it (1)

ZackThom (908419) | about 9 years ago | (#13343917)

Oh... so my poor vision is caused by my EXCITEMENT, not what I DO when I am so horn^h^h^h^h happy.

That web server is certainly going to experience.. (1)

ScentCone (795499) | about 9 years ago | (#13343921)

temporary blindness after an intense and violent slashdotting.

This explains some "eyewitness" problems (5, Insightful)

Tsu Dho Nimh (663417) | about 9 years ago | (#13343930)

"the fact that they never even saw the image of the building lying on its side is very significant"

Witnesses to a crime often have problems remembering what happened after a traumatic event, to the extent that they often give conflicting accounts of which direction a suspect fled. This research indicated that they might not have processed that information because of the emotional overload.

Re:This explains some "eyewitness" problems (0)

Seumas (6865) | about 9 years ago | (#13343958)

I can't believe this "research" is considered so ground breaking.

Ask any attorney, judge, cop or crime investigator and they will tell you that victims and witnesses very often blow things out of proportion due to the emotional intensity of the situation. Suddenly that .38 looks like a Clint Eastwood 45 with a barrel the size of an A-Frame house. That 6' chubby guy becomes a 6'6" football player.

Even better, watch Mad Dog (or whatever that show is with the bounty hunter guy in Hawaii). He doesn't carry a gun. He comes up to his "victims" and shouts at them and draws out a large tank of mace and treats it as if it's a gun. His "victims" always seem to fall for it - not realizing it isn't a gun until it's too late.

And more than anything, who hasn't lost site after whacking off to furry-porn?

Re:This explains some "eyewitness" problems (1)

Stormy Henderson (316646) | about 9 years ago | (#13344218)

Read the article!

The research had absolutely nothing to do with people exaggerating eyewitness accounts. It showed that your visual coretex stops processing input for a split second after seeing an image that causes an emotional response.

So instead of, "He was an football player with a gun," you'd have, "What guy?" Assuming the guy only hung around for 1/10th of a second.

if I had known (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13343931)

So that's why you can turn blind if you masturbate?

Of course you go blind! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13343935)

Everybody knows that you go blind if you at erotic images for too long.
And you get hairy palms.

So it's true... (2, Funny)

JonLatane (750195) | about 9 years ago | (#13343936)

Porn does make you blind! Hell, look at the name of the effect: "attentional rubbernecking."

I was put in such a violent shock that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13343939)

I didn't notice someone walking into the room after I saw the beard on that guy's frekkin face!

For all the Aussie's in the house, he looks like that dude who's in every Midday Movie on 7!


Re:I was put in such a violent shock that... (1)

martinX (672498) | about 9 years ago | (#13344236)

Derryn Hinch?

Bush Derangement Syndrome (-1, Offtopic)

Nova Express (100383) | about 9 years ago | (#13343940)

Perhaps this is part of the explanation for Bush Derangement Syndrome. [] President Bush comes on TV, and some of his more radical opponents are so blinded with rage that they become immune to logic...

Re:Bush Derangement Syndrome (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13343954)

I'm a conservative and I really dislike Bush. he spends money like a drunken sailor, he won't support a ban on "Gay" marriage, and there are dozens more reasons to dislike him.

So, you can join the Bush cult and pretend he's conservative, but just know you have no principles.

Re:Bush Derangement Syndrome (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13344051)

Well just know that you don't have a sense HUMOR!

Re:Bush Derangement Syndrome (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13344072)

That canard. Watch me roll my eyes.

Re:Bush Derangement Syndrome (0, Offtopic)

ScentCone (795499) | about 9 years ago | (#13344071)

Oh for crying out loud, give it a rest. You'd probably be a lot happier with Kerry in office just so you'd really have something to complain about. I've definitely got bones to pick with Bush, mostly related to his beholdeness to the religious right, but finding him to be a better C-in-C than the alternative doesn't exactly make me a cult member. My principles don't allow me to vote for a guy I like even less (or note vote at all) just because the guy that at least echos some of what I like isn't my entire philosophical clone.

Re:Bush Derangement Syndrome (1)

Dunbal (464142) | about 9 years ago | (#13344076)

Man oh man I wonder how many moderators you just made blind with that post! You are gonna get so nuked, if they manage to see the "Flamebait" button...

Re:Bush Derangement Syndrome (0, Offtopic)

Dunbal (464142) | about 9 years ago | (#13343974)

President Bush comes on TV, and some of his more radical opponents are so blinded with rage that they become immune to logic...

      Naw, the theory assumes that the person actually has a brain that gets distracted. Politicians have evolved the ability to completely ignore this particular organ. Nice try though...

Is this similar.... (1)

tktk (540564) | about 9 years ago | (#13343941)

to porn-induced blindness?

oblig. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13343942)

er, tubgirl?

Dear god (1)

Psionicist (561330) | about 9 years ago | (#13343944)

This is the first time the bots and spammers goatse-links will be of actual use!

Moving too fast (2)

CypherXero (798440) | about 9 years ago | (#13343950)

It's not that it causes slight blindness, but the images in the flash demo move too damn fast. It doesn't matter if it contains blood/gore, etc... because you can't see it anyway, it's too fast.

Re:Moving too fast (1)

FLAGGR (800770) | about 9 years ago | (#13344237)

Nah, your just too slow. Look a little faster.

Jokes aside, I like how you just know these things, your a scientist right? Note the multiple trials where they rearranged the order of the pictures.

Personally, that picture of the hand stuck in my mind longer than the rest, while the ones of trees seemed to go by faster. Meh.

Re:Moving too fast (1)

Rayaru (898516) | about 9 years ago | (#13344241)

Yeah.... I didn't even notice the bloody hand the first time around. I couldn't process any of their information, so I don't know how they expect me to make out their target image.

Re:Moving too fast (1)

dustmite (667870) | about 9 years ago | (#13344287)

I saw the bloody hand quite clearly and immediately the first time I ran the test, but hardly registered any of the other 'boring' images. Still, I knew what the test was about, so one could argue I was simply "looking for" something gory. But either way, your hypothesis that the speed of the images is the problem totally fails to explain the actual, measured differences in awareness of different images amongst test subjects between the experiment and control image sequences. (That's the whole point of having a control part of an experiment!)

Like I'm gonna click that link (4, Funny)

PCM2 (4486) | about 9 years ago | (#13343967)

Until I hear otherwise, I'm going to assume that this is the most elaborate Goatse troll ever.

Re:Like I'm gonna click that link (1)

Dunbal (464142) | about 9 years ago | (#13343998)

It was actually tubgirl, dude. Pretty gross...I am still stunned.

Not so sure about this... (4, Informative)

pla (258480) | about 9 years ago | (#13343968)

I usually have pretty good reaction times, and in the flash test, purely by chance (well, okay, just because, having conducted psych research myself, I like to screw with their heads) I chose the third sequence first.

I didn't see the target.

I replayed that thing about a dozen times before I finally caught it.

I suspect I missed it because "rotated 90 degrees" doesn't stand out enough to notice, with such complicated images and only a tenth of a second per image - Though I suppose using something like simple brightly colored shapes would tend to make the "graphic" image stand out unduly.

Anyway, once I finally spotted the target image in the last sequence, I nailed it first try in the first two sequences (the ones supposed to induce temporary blindness).

Then again, perhaps I just have a deep fear of fire hydrants, while bloody stumps don't really phase me.

Re:Not so sure about this... (1)

Nimrangul (599578) | about 9 years ago | (#13344117)

I actually have rather poor twitch myself and could not see the rotated image at all in any of the examples - the manipulation wasn't obvious enough to be noticed in a split second for me.

I think a better way to read the results would be, "people have a hard time getting a solid bearing of an image in a tenth of a second." Or perhaps, "split second reactions poor among Internet users."

Hmmm (2, Interesting)

Dude163299 (906461) | about 9 years ago | (#13343971)

To me that whole flash thing only messed up my eye sight a bit from the picture changing so much so fast. Which is what their probably talking bout. But i rather see them do a study on people playing video games being oblivious to the world around them, aka enviroment, as in people walking by. And a study on how people are when they are playing video games vs not playing video games in terms of brain waves, pulse etc. And than another wide spread test on video games and concentraion, since in my case i had a lack of concentration before i became a gamer and now i can sit down and work on something hours on end without loosing my focus, i like science to point out thats possible.

For the best results... (2, Funny)

edrams (778721) | about 9 years ago | (#13343972)

...they should have used Goatse.

Protest Gay Funerals! (-1, Troll)

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Guess they didn't test gamers (1)

Cylix (55374) | about 9 years ago | (#13343983)

Even with my contacts a bit blury I was still able to spot all 3 images.

Though I could care less about the bloody hand... the picture just didn't look right. Of course it could mean I'm just not very sensitive to detached limps.

Maybe it's from too many shooters, but I'm pretty sure I could have scored a head shot there.

Try some porn next time folks!

"seeing red" (2, Interesting)

rjamestaylor (117847) | about 9 years ago | (#13343984)

In my early 20's (I'm in my late 30's now) I learned what the phrase "seeing red" meant. For some reason I was quite angry -- suddenly -- at a grocery clerk and as I got mad my peripheral vision narrowed until my vision was swallowed up with a dark redness. Almost like I was passing out. I literally could not see until I calmed down. This incident took a few seconds to transpire but I'll never forget it.

I guess with age I've mellowed, as I haven't been as mad as that since losing the contest for the Slashdot Cruiser -- well, maybe since the Karma Cap was instituted... or was the last time when I saw my first Microsoft ad on Slashdot? Hmmm...

What a load of rubbish. Try the farmhouse. (1)

Warwick Allison (209388) | about 9 years ago | (#13343987)

I can't see the target image in any sequence... because it's a low-contrast image. The fire hydrant and the farm house however, stand way out, contradicting the thesis.

This is .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13343991)

I tried to type a response here but I think I was blinded by this useless crap...

Dick 1: Now that we have finished this what next ?

Dick 2: Hmm ... lets see what experiment we can do that really proves nothing .. and oh let also base it on statistical analysis since no one can raise objections to our results.

Dick 3: How about the blindness caused after intense masturbation.

Dick 1: Dick 3.. you seem to have something there

and then it begins all over again .....

Ha ha ha stupid nerds and your nerd rage (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13343999)

OMG linux has bugs!
OH NO! starwars it's re-released


This is why i laugh at YOU!

Re:Ha ha ha stupid nerds and your nerd rage (1)

Dunbal (464142) | about 9 years ago | (#13344133)

Why is this flamebait? This is actually quite funny and on topic. Sheesh get a sense of humour you mods...!

Conflicting crime scene testimonies (3, Interesting)

Quirk (36086) | about 9 years ago | (#13344002)

"Psychologists at Vanderbilt and Yale Universities have determined that people can suffer short periods of blindness, up to 1/2 a second in length, immediately after seeing highly emotional images"

Might such periods of "blindness" be in part responsible for the inability of crime witnesses to recall details, and, for conflicting crime reports by witnesses.

There is the classic gambit of a law professor having a mock murder take place in front of law students to test their ability to recall details correctly. OTOH there was Aldus Huxley who, when left alone at home, would answer the door, deal with whomever was at the door, and, then return to his work without any memory of having dealt with some mundane task. A. Huxley was also able to recall, verbatim, pages of his college texts after having been given only a slight prompt.

Charles Tart in his book Altered States [] gives a fun run down on some of the oddities of human consciousness.

Maybe, but... (4, Insightful)

aiken_d (127097) | about 9 years ago | (#13344008)

If you play with the flash-based demonstration on TFA's site, you'll see that the gap, if any, is speedy indeed.

(For those who didn't / couldn't / wouldn't go to the site, basically it's a series of more or less random images, each one staying for 1/10th of a second or so, with a "target" image buried in the sequence. The "target" is identifiable because it's rotated 90 degrees)

However, they don't include a control: a series of images *without* a a "disturbing" image. From my way of thinking and from my firsthand experience with the site, it may be that the same "blindess" would be caused whenever there's an image rotated 90 degrees.

I'm sure the research is more thorough than that, but the implementation here doesn't seem to reflect that. Unless I'm just missing something.


Re:Maybe, but... (1)

volsung (378) | about 9 years ago | (#13344028)

That was sequence C.

Re:Maybe, but... (1)

hexi (716384) | about 9 years ago | (#13344177)

It seems that the sequence C was supposed to be the control sequence. I have to admit I couldn't see what the picture was. It might be the fact that it is 4 AM now and I should be asleep or then my brain is just too slow for this and I'm freaking 20.

Re:Maybe, but... (4, Informative)

iphayd (170761) | about 9 years ago | (#13344244)

Image set 'A' was with the target image several images after the hand.

Image set 'B' was with the target image quickly after the hand.

Image set 'C' was with the target image in the same spot as 'B', but the hand was replaced with a fire hydrant.

C is clearly the control. Well, unless you have some sort of a hidden memory of something bad (or erotic) dealing with a fire hydrant.

yep you missed something (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13344248)

series c had the 90 degree picture shown after a regular-type picture. then, the flash demo said something to the effect of "it's delay is smaller than both series a and b, but more people recognize the 90 degree rotated image."

It wprked too qell! (0)

teamhasnoi (554944) | about 9 years ago | (#13344010)

I still van't srr a thimg@

Wh0 dp I su34?

Shed new lights on (1)

doubtless (267357) | about 9 years ago | (#13344018)

Shed new lights on how masturbation makes you blind.. now we know they've been right all along...

Man, this was discovered years ago (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13344020)

When researchers at Fox News discovered that by repeatedly displaying images of the September 11 attacks, they could blind the American public to the actions of their government for up to four years

I saw... (4, Funny)

Blitzenn (554788) | about 9 years ago | (#13344030)

I saw my mom having sex once, I never saw the same after that. Is that the same thing?

Re:I saw... (3, Funny)

Jubalicious (203314) | about 9 years ago | (#13344190)

Me too... and now this research gives me justification to seek punitive damages against your mom

Tough test (1)

Bifurcati (699683) | about 9 years ago | (#13344033)

I just tried the flash test out (before it gets slashdotted...) and I think I saw the image every time. It was kind of confusing, however, because I couldn't really register the images that came along. So I'm not certain if I did see it in tests B or C - something looked out of the ordinary, but I couldn't say what. That said, the injured hand really did stand out. But is that because it was a gross pic, or because it was a different and more vivid colour to the others? Not certain, but interesting test nonetheless. Quite a clever way of testing this.

Strong Emotions last only seconds (1)

failedlogic (627314) | about 9 years ago | (#13344049)

Women will also use this as proof that certain strong emotions in men last only a few seconds.

Very timely write-up (5, Interesting)

l00sr (266426) | about 9 years ago | (#13344056)

This is very timely in light of recent news that the eyewitness accounts of the tube shooting of Charles de Menezes, were just completely wrong [] . Despite eyewitness accounts to the contrary, he was not wearing winter clothing, he had not jumped the turnstile, was not chased into the train by police, etc. Amazing.

Re:Very timely write-up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13344099)

Also resembles the Washington Belt shootings, where so many witnesses swore that they saw a white van fleeing the scene.

Re:Very timely write-up (1)

Dunbal (464142) | about 9 years ago | (#13344119)

This is offtopic, but thanks for the link. It's nice to know that the police shot someone when he was already DOWN. I understand that after the first shot, everything goes to hell because no one knows who is shooting at who. There's just no time. But the idiot that pulled the trigger first committed murder. Perhaps it's not such a good idea to give guns to British bobbies after all...

Oh wow imagine that! (2)

OsirisX11 (598587) | about 9 years ago | (#13344064)

Let me get this right, if you look at something, and it catches your attention, for whatever can't focus on anything else. WOW. what a revelation. So you mean when I'm driving down the road and I see a porno billboard, I can't help to look...I really needed this research to point this out to me.


Re:Oh wow imagine that! (1)

gakn8r (731456) | about 9 years ago | (#13344302)

This explains why I never did see the duck in the "picture of a duck" that my buddy sent to me.


blindness during eye movement (4, Interesting)

G4from128k (686170) | about 9 years ago | (#13344075)

When the eye moves, it temporarily shuts off the flow of visual data to the brain. That is why you don't experience the world swirling around as your eye darts from detail to detail. Experiments using an eye tracker found that one could change parts of the scene in the middle of the eye movement and the subject wouldn't notice the change. The tests looked at how severe a change was needed to make people notice that the scene was different -- colors of objects could change, people could be added to pictures, etc.

The coolest experiment used an eye tracker that painted words on the screen only where the fovea (the high resolution central portion of the retina) was looking and painted "X"s on the screen everywhere else (the low resolution bulk of the eye). Every time the subject's eye moved, the screen was redrawn to show the words where they were now looking and hide the words were they weren't looking. Subjects could read documents normally and were totally unaware that the screen was, in reality, full of "x"s except where their central field of vision happened to be pointing.

The point is that the eye & brain is not a simple pixel-based camera.

The gory image had no effect (1)

11011001 (710307) | about 9 years ago | (#13344127)

I timed my blinking so that i blocked out the gory picture, I was still unable to identify the rotated image. Perhaps the pictures were just flashed to fast.

Silly Grasshopper (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13344138)

It's called, "focus". Now go apply yourself.

In other news... (1)

Jubalicious (203314) | about 9 years ago | (#13344141)

Images that are flashed with such a short delay make it difficult to process images that are sideways.

Or maybe I'm just slow, but in any case the lesson I learned from this experiment is don't play with knives.

What would happen if there were a series of emotional images being presented? Would you still be "blind" to certain ones, only picking up on the ones that caused more emotion within you? Or would you see them all because they elicited some sort of an emotional response out of you?

H2G2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13344149)

Peril sensitive sunglasses anyone?

Hmm (1)

blaksaga (720779) | about 9 years ago | (#13344156)

Going through there test I seem to have just as hard of a time seeing the picture after the fire-hydrant as I do seeing the picture after the bloody hand. By the time my brain actually recognizes the picture and realizes, "Hey, that's the picture. I need to remember the picture after this one," it's too late and the next picture has already flown by.

But perhaps why it's even harder yet to see the picture of the bloody hand after all the scenic images is because 1) that image is something that you don't see everyday so it takes a second to realize what exactly you're looking at and 2) that image doesn't belong next to all of those pictures of scenery.

I don't think this has as much to do with blindness from obscene pictures as it does the time it takes for your brain to actually figure out what it is you're looking at. Things that you see everyday (like porn to slashdot readers) your brain is accustomed to seeing and is quicker at realizing what it is.

Porn (1)

D H NG (779318) | about 9 years ago | (#13344243)

This confirms what my mother told me: watching pr0n WILL make you go blind!

That's why people don't RTFA (2, Funny)

Vombatus (777631) | about 9 years ago | (#13344247)

They are so outraged by the editor's comments, that they fail to notice the links to the fine article.

The Ringu tape . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13344267)

was actually a Flash animation. Like I'm going to click that thing.

failed both second and third (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13344272)

I couldn't see the target image in either the 2nd or 3rd sequence, it just goes by too fast. I can only recall the farm house and tree, and I think that is only because I saw them in the first sequence.
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