Age Effects on Inattentional Blindness: Implications for Driving

  • Cary StothartEmail author
  • Walter Boot
  • Daniel Simons
  • Neil Charness
  • Timothy Wright
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 9755)


We may fail to notice things in our environment because our attention is directed somewhere else, a phenomenon called inattentional blindness. Our susceptibility to inattentional blindness increases as we age. We explored three potential moderators of the age and inattentional blindness relationship: (1) the spatial proximity of the unexpected object to our focus of attention; (2) the match between the features of the unexpected object and those we have prioritized—our attention set; and (3) the salience of the unexpected object. Using a large sample of participants, we found no evidence that any of these moderate the effect that age has on inattentional blindness; the effect of age is robust. We discuss the implications for older drivers.


Aging Attention Inattentional blindness Attentional breadth Attention set Salience 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cary Stothart
    • 1
    Email author
  • Walter Boot
    • 1
  • Daniel Simons
    • 2
  • Neil Charness
    • 1
  • Timothy Wright
    • 3
  1. 1.Florida State UniversityTallahasseeUSA
  2. 2.University of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignChampaignUSA
  3. 3.University of Massachusetts AmherstAmherstUSA

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