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Hardcover | Out of Print | 287 pp. | 5.9 x 8.9 in | March 1998 | ISBN: 9780262133395
Paperback | $34.00 Short | £27.95 | 287 pp. | 5.9 x 8.9 in | July 2000 | ISBN: 9780262632034
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Inattentional Blindness


Many people believe that merely by opening their eyes, they see everything in their field of view; in fact, a line of psychological research has been taken as evidence of the existence of so-called preattentional perception. In Inattentional Blindness, Arien Mack and Irvin Rock make the radical claim that there is no such thing—that there is no conscious perception of the visual world without attention to it.

The authors present a narrative chronicle of their research. Thus, the reader follows the trail that led to the final conclusions, learning why initial hypotheses and explanations were discarded or revised, and how new questions arose along the way. The phenomenon of inattentional blindness has theoretical importance for cognitive psychologists studying perception, attention, and consciousness, as well as for philosophers and neuroscientists interested in the problem of consciousness.


“Likely to become a landmark.... In contrast to earlier physiologically inspired models of visual attention, this book whets our appetite for a new, richer, and fuller understanding of perception and its relation to conscious and unconscious mental processing.”—Ken Nakayama, Trends in Cognitive Sciences
“The book is full of important and intriguing findings...will no doubt play a central role in the growing literature suggesting that at any moment our conscious perception of the world is really quite limited even though we have the illusion that it is rich and detailed.”—Keith Humphrey, Journal of Consciousness Studies


“This is a delightful book by two renowned researchers. In addition to being a superb introduction to the study of perception and attention, it is full of novel and intriguing ideas about how the brain works.”
V.S. Ramachandran, M.D., Ph.D, Director, Center for Brain and Cognition, University of California
“What is the relationship between attention, perception, and consciousness? Mack and Rock have provided precious insights into a central question of natural philosophy -- and offer some provocative answers.”
Robert Rafal, M.D., Professor of Neurology, University of California
“This is an important book. The inattentional blindness findings challenge a number of widely held assumptions about the nature of visual perception -- assumptions concerned with the role of "attention-free" (pre-attentive) processes. These assumptions are, of course, central to many current theories of perception, and, as a result, this book is going to play a pivotal role in future discussions about the interrelation among attention, perception, and consciousness. This book should be of enormous interest for anyone -- psychologist, philosopher, or neuroscientist -- interested in the nature of perceptual experience.”
Daniel Reisberg, Department of Psychology, Reed College
“This book reports a fascinating series of experiments exploring a phenomenon of considerable theoretical interest in the field of attention and more generally of perception and its relation to consciousness. The discussion of the findings is thoughtful and challenging. It makes a surprising and important contribution.”
Anne Treisman, Department of Psychology, Princeton University