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Daniel J. Simons

Division: Visual Cognition & Human Performance

Professor of Psychology

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Specializations

  • Visual cognition, attention, perception, memory, change blindness, inattentional blindness, metacognition & intuition

Research Description

Visual cognition, perception, attention, and memory. Most of my recent research has focused on the cognitive underpinnings of our experience of a stable and continuous visual world. One line of research focuses on change blindness. These failures to notice large changes to scenes suggest that we are aware of far less of our visual world than we think. Related studies explore what aspects of our environment automatically capture attention and what objects and events go unnoticed. Such studies reveal the surprising extent of inattentional blindness - the failure to notice unusual and salient events in their visual world when attention is otherwise engaged and the events are unexpected. Other active research interests include scene perception, object recognition, visual memory, visual fading, attention, and driving and distraction. Research in my laboratory adopts methods ranging from real-world and video-based approaches to computer-based psychophysical techniques, and it includes basic behavioral measures, eye tracking, simulator studies, and training studies. This diversity of approaches helps establish closer links between basic research on the mechanisms of attention and the real-world implications and consequences of our findings.

Education

  • Ph.D. from Cornell University
  • B.A. from Carleton College

Courses

  • Grad seminars on perception and on professional issues
  • Introduction to Experimental Psychology (Psych 103)
  • Introduction to Visual Cognition

Recent Publications

Chabris, C. F., & Simons, D. J. (2010). The Invisible Gorilla (And Other Ways Our Intuitions Deceive Us). New York, NY: Crown. (see www.theinvisiblegorilla.com for details).

Most, S. B., Scholl, B. J., Clifford, E. R., & Simons, D. J. (2005). What you see is what you set: Sustained inattentional blindness and the capture of awareness. Psychological Review, 112(1), 217-242.

Simons, D. J., & Chabris, C. F. (1999). Gorillas in our midst: Sustained inattentional blindness for dynamic events. Perception, 28, 1059-1074.

Simons, D. J., & Jensen, M. S. (2009). The effects of individual differences and task difficulty on inattentional blindness. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 16(2), 398-403.

Simons, D. J., & Rensink, R. A. (2005). Change blindness: Past, present, and future. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 9(1), 16-20.