More Than Meets the Eye: Inattentional Blindness

Ann-Christin Sannes, Chaibi Aleksander, Peter McCarthy

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    Background: The phenomenon of inattentional blindness has been discussed for years, in relation to everyday life and clinical practice. Inattentional blindness refers to the common failure to notice plainly visible items when attention is otherwise preoccupied. The purpose of this study was to assess any potential difference in inattentional blindness between chiropractic students on assessing plain film radiograph, and any difference compared to expert radiologist.

    Method: The subjects were invited to join if above 18 years of age, enrolled on the MChiro course (USW) and familiar with Pelvic plain film radiographs. Ethical approval was obtained by Research module ethics review panel and written consent was obtained on entering the assessment room. The subjects were shown 20 plain film radiographs and asked to state all findings. A gorilla figure was placed in three of the images, with 50, 75, and 100% density. Crosstabulation was used to compare the groups.

    Results: 51 subjects participated, age range 19-36 (mean = 23, 53, SD = 3.79), 29 females and 22 males. Group 1 consisted of 25 2nd year students, and group 2 was 26 4th (final) year student. Of the final year students 35% saw the gorilla at 75- and 100% density, whereas only 4% of the second-year student noted the figure. There seemed to be no significant correlation between those already familiar with the Drew, et al. study.

    Conclusion: It was clear that level of education had little effect
    on level of inattentional blindness, though a slight difference
    was noted. Further research is needed to explore ways of minimizing the occurrence of inattentional blindness.
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages5
    JournalInternational Journal of Radiology and Imaging Technology
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 6 Oct 2018


    • inattentional blindness
    • Chiropractic
    • Plain film
    • Radiography
    • X-ray


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