ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2014, Vol. 22 ›› Issue (12): 1867-1874.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2014.01867

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The Cognitive Neural Mechanism of Inattentional Blindness

ZHANG Hui1,2; SHI Jiannong1,3   

  1. (1 Key Laboratory of Behavioral Science Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China) (2 University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100039, China) (3 Department of Learning and Philosophy, Aalborg University, Denmark)
  • Received:2014-04-17 Online:2014-12-15 Published:2014-12-15
  • Contact: SHI Jiannong, E-mail:


Inattentional blindness refers to that observers cannot detect some stimuli even if the stimuli stand exactly where their gaze falls. This phenomenon is common among our daily life and contributes to many traffic and medical accidents. We reviewed the papers and found that “limited resource” and “attentional set” take accounts to this phenomenon. In general, the two causes contribute to this phenomenon simultaneously. However, “attentional set” will lead to this phenomenon independent of “limited resource”. More in depth, from the aspect of neuro-mechanism, “limited resource” and “attentional set” acted on the middle stage of brain processing. The unexpected stimuli have ever received some conscious processing in the traditional conscious processing region even when they are not been aware of. The conscious inputs in occipital-parietal areas in the middle stage, the activation level of temporo-parietal junction and intraparietal sulcus determine whether the unexpected stimuli can arrive to conscious level.

Key words: inattentional blindness, limited resource, attentional set, conscious processing region, temporo- parietal junction, intraparietal sulcus