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Clifasefi SL, Takarangi MKT, Bergman JS. 
“Blind Drunk: The Effects of Alcohol on Inattentional Blindness”. 
Applied Cognitive Psychology. 2006 Jun;20(5):697-704.
Alcohol consumption is a major contributor to road accidents. While it is likely that perceptual processing deficits contribute to poorer driving performance among intoxicated individuals, we know little about alcohol’s role in particular perceptual processes. For instance, we know that even sober individuals can fail to detect unexpected salient objects that appear in their visual fields, a phenomenon known as inattentional blindness (IB; Mack & Rock, 1998). We were interested in whether these visual errors become more or less likely when subjects are under the influence of alcohol or just think that they are drunk. We told half our subjects that they had received alcohol, and half that they had received a placebo. This information was either true or false. Intoxicated subjects (regardless of what they were told) were more likely to show ‘blindness’ to an unexpected object in their visual field. This finding has practical implications for human performance issues such as driving and eyewitness memory, and theoretical implications for visual cognition.
Comments and Responses to this Article
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Apr 17, 2011 1:59
gorilla test strikes again #

See Simons 1999 about the type of test used.

Clifasefi et al report here that only 18% of those shown the gorilla test after having had a single drink were gorilla positive while 40-50% of those who had not had the drink were gorilla positive.

The main thing that is lame about this article is the political focus on drunk driving, which the test has nothing to do with. This research does suggest using similar techniques using driving simulators to see whether the same effect applies to unusual conditions while driving. Whether it has unexpected implications for driving while intoxicated, the issue of effects on attention and noticing of psychoactive drugs is quite interesting.

This research also suggests running the exact same battery against a variety of psychoactive drugs. Unfortunately, each one of these 'gorilla tests' would interfere with similar tests because of their design, since they rely on so heavily on novelty.
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