The visible gorilla: Unexpected fast—not physically salient—Objects are noticeable

Pascal Wallisch, Wayne E. Mackey, Michael W. Karlovich, David J. Heeger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


It is widely believed that observers can fail to notice clearly visible unattended objects, even if they are moving. Here, we created parametric tasks to test this belief and report the results of three high-powered experiments (total n = 4,493) indicating that this effect is strongly modulated by the speed of the unattended object. Specifically, fast—but not slow—objects are readily noticeable, whether they are attended or not. These results suggest that fast motion serves as a potent exogenous cue that overrides task-focused attention, showing that fast speeds, not long exposure duration or physical salience, strongly diminish inattentional blindness effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2214930120
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number22
StatePublished - May 30 2023


  • endogenous attention
  • exogenous attention
  • inattentional blindness
  • selective attention
  • visual motion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


Dive into the research topics of 'The visible gorilla: Unexpected fast—not physically salient—Objects are noticeable'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this