A Video Illusion: Can You Spot the Change?

We’re a bit embar­rassed to admit that it took us three times to spot the change in this fas­ci­nat­ing video illu­sion at New Sci­en­tist, even after read­ing about the research behind the video. The test was devel­oped by Kevin O’Re­gan and his team at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Paris Descartes as part of their work on per­cep­tion. O’Re­gan is best known for his work on change blind­ness, our rel­a­tive inabil­i­ty to per­ceive grad­ual change, and our ten­den­cy to focus sole­ly on what we per­ceive to be the most dynam­ic or inter­est­ing ele­ment of a scene.

If this video isn’t enough to con­vince of you of O’Re­gan’s the­o­ries, he’s post­ed a whole slew of demon­stra­tions at his web­site. Bet­ter yet, you can dis­pel any remain­ing doubts (or self-esteem) by tak­ing this aware­ness test, which is even more dra­mat­ic. It bowled us over. Let us know in the com­ments if it did the same for you.

via Kirstin But­ler

Sheer­ly Avni is a San Fran­cis­co-based arts and cul­ture writer. Her work has appeared in Salon, LA Week­ly, Moth­er Jones, and many oth­er pub­li­ca­tions. You can fol­low her on twit­ter at @sheerly.

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Comments (10)
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  • Amber says:

    It did­n’t take me long. First time through, I noticed before they did the obvi­ous seg­ment.

  • Alex says:

    Oh, so you mean the change was­n’t the tran­si­tion between the O’Charley’s adver­tise­ment and the video of the carousel? :)

    Took me two go-arounds, have to say.

  • Andrew says:

    I got it on the first try with­out a prob­lem. I real­ly don’t under­stand how you could miss it, but I guess that’s easy to say if you find it.

  • Sheerly says:

    These com­ments are hum­bling, to say the least :).

  • Paul says:

    Man­aged to spot it just before the spoil­er hit. Very inter­est­ing and inci­den­tal­ly a won­der­ful exam­ple of how evo­lu­tion works — tiny imper­cep­ti­ble changes which result in mas­sive change over time :-)

  • heather says:

    Caught it…seemed kin­da obvi­ous.

  • Carolina says:

    It took me two times :P

  • Gary Goldstein says:

    OMG! I missed it. I thought the change would be sub­tle. How­ev­er, it was such a big dif­fer­ence between the end­ing and the begin­ning. The grad­ual shades of change in-between went right past my visu­al abil­i­ty.

    Fas­ci­nat­ing work by O’Re­gan. Thank you.

    Con­grat­u­la­tions to those of you who saw the change.

  • William Lever says:

    I, too, caught it on the 3rd go around–I was scour­ing the minutiae–until it occured to me that the change might be otherwise–it was inob­vi­ous­ly obvi­ous. Good one! And it says whole bunch­es toward the accu­ra­cy of O’Re­gan’s the­o­ries.

  • Chandler says:

    Real­ly? Com­mer­cials now?

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