Abstract

Despite the importance of change detection (CD) for visual perception and for performance in our environment, observers often miss changes that should be easily noticed. In the present study, we employed time–frequency analysis to investigate the neural activity associated with CD and change blindness (CB). Observers were presented with two successive visual displays and had to look for a change in orientation in any one of four sinusoid gratings between both displays. Theta power increased widely over the scalp after the second display when a change was consciously detected. Relative to no-change and CD, CB was associated with a pronounced theta power enhancement at parietal-occipital and occipital sites and broadly distributed alpha power suppression during the processing of the prechange display. Finally, power suppressions in the beta band following the second display show that, even when a change is not consciously detected, it might be represented to a certain degree. These results show the potential of time–frequency analysis to deepen our knowledge of the temporal curse of the neural events underlying CD. The results further reveal that the process resulting in CB begins even before the occurrence of the change itself.

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