My research program explores the mechanisms of attention, perception, memory, and thinking. The study of these topics falls into sub-division of psychology known as "visual cognition." My best known studies explore the limits of visual awareness and the many ways our intuitions about perception and attention diverge from the reality. 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 the mind and the practical consequences and implications of those findings in our daily lives. You can view many demos from some of my studies on this site's videos page
My primary lines of research focus on the failures of awareness known as change blindness and inattentional blindness. Inattentional blindness is the failure to notice an unexpected object or event when people are focusing attention on something else. Change blindness is the failure to notice something change from one moment to the next. I also conduct research on intuitive beliefs about attention and memory, the mechanisms of overconfidence in beliefs about one's own abilities (currently in chess and bridge players), how seeing the same thing again can lead us to believe it to be true (the illusory truth effect), and many other topics in cognition, attention, and perception. I also publish and do research on meta-science and research methods and have written critique and reviews of research on brain training. Some examples of current topics my lab is exploring include:
- Do people differ in their ability to notice unexpected events?
- How do expectations contribute to noticing unexpected events?
- How does similarity of an unexpected event to what we are attending and ignoring affect whether or not we notice it?
- How much information do people keep in mind when they fail to detect a change?
- What information do people notice and retain by default when looking at visual scenes?
All of my publications are available in my reprint archive
. You can request any paper by entering your email address and it will be emailed to you immediately as a pdf attachment. You can also view my publications in my Google Scholar Profile
or in my ORCID listing
Code, Materials, and Data
Code, materials, and data from many of my publications can be found on the Simons Lab OSF page
. The page includes links to the separate project pages for completed studies. Those typically include preregistration documents, materials, data, and analysis code.
I have compiled a set of writing and revision suggestions (my own and those of others whose writing and guidance I like) that I share with students and colleagues. The guide's emphasis is on scientific writing, but the same principles apply to most non-fiction (including journalism). The guide also suggestions for revising and editing and includes a worksheet and checklist for revisions. The current and older versions are linked below.