Change blindness and multitasking

A new study has been released that tests visual attention and focus amidst distractors and reports that humans cannot simultaneously multitask, but rather switch attention from one thing to another. This is a type of multiplexing (rapid switching back and forth between two channels) and it is very demanding on cognitive resources.

Another related study says humans are subject to “change blindness”, like when you fail to notice that your husband got his hair cut. Essentially this article posits that humans are poor at remembering information that doesn’t grab our attention. The prefrontal cortex is what prioritizes how the information is processed, so it decides what is important and directs attention. It is possible that individuals with Autism may actually be better at detecting change blindness because their prefrontal cortex has a more difficult time discerning the most important information amidst unimportant information. In my opinion, it is not in our interest to develop means to improve our change vision, because it will come as a result of being focus blind.

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