Change deafness can be reduced, but not eliminated, using brief training interventions

  • Vanessa C. IrsikEmail author
  • Joel S. Snyder
Original Article


Research on change deafness indicates there are substantial limitations to listeners’ perception of which objects are present in complex auditory scenes, an ability that is important for many everyday situations. Experiment 1 examined the extent to which change deafness could be reduced by training with performance feedback compared to no training. Experiment 2 compared the efficacy of training with detailed feedback that identified the change and provided performance feedback on each trial, training without feedback, and no training. We further examined the timescale over which improvement unfolded by examining performance using an immediate post-test and a second post-test 12 h later. We were able to reduce, but not eliminate, change deafness for all groups, and determined that the practice content strongly impacted bias and response strategy. Training with simple performance feedback reduced change deafness but increased bias and false alarm rates, while providing a more detailed feedback improved change detection without affecting bias. Together, these findings suggest that change deafness can be reduced if a relatively small amount of practice is completed. When bias did not impede performance during the first post-test, the majority of the learning following training occurred immediately, suggesting that fast within-session learning primarily supported improvement on the task.



This research was supported by U.S. Army Research Office (Grant W911NF-12-1-0256).

Supplementary material

426_2019_1239_MOESM1_ESM.docx (1 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 1025 kb)


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Brain and Mind InstituteUniversity of Western OntarioLondonCanada
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Nevada, Las VegasLas VegasUSA

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