Eye fixation-related potentials in change detection
We considered the hypothesis that spontaneous dissociation between the direction of attention and eye movement causes encoding failure in change detection. We tested this hypothesis by analyzing eye fixation-related potentials (EFRP) at the encoding stage of a change blindness task; when participants freely inspect a scene containing an unmarked target region, in which a change will occur in a subsequent presentation. We measured EFRP amplitude prior to the execution of a saccade, depending on its starting or landing position relative to the target region. For those landings inside the target region, we found a difference in EFRP between correct detection and failure. Overall, correspondence between EFRP amplitude and the size of the saccade predicted successful detection of change; lack of correspondence was followed by change blindness. By contrast, saccade sizes and fixation durations around the target region were unrelated to subsequent change detection. Since correspondence between EFRP and eye movement indicates that overt attention was given to the target region, we concluded that overt attention is needed for successful encoding and that dissociation between eye movement and attention leads to change blindness. (C) 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.