Repetition blindness: The survival of the grouped

Liat Goldfarb, Anne Treisman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The repetition blindness (RB) effect demonstrates that people often fail to detect the second presentation of an identical object (e. g., Kanwisher, 1987). Grouping of identical items is a well-documented perceptual phenomenon, and this grouping generally facilitates perception. These two effects pose a puzzle: RB impairs perception, while perceptual grouping improves it. Here, we combined these two effects and studied how they interact. In a series of three experiments, we presented repeated items in a simultaneous string, while manipulating the organization of the repeated items in groups within a string. We observed an interaction between RB and grouping that we summarize with a rule that we call "the survival of the grouped": In essence, the ability to group repeated elements protects them from RB. These findings are discussed within the framework of the object file theory.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1042-1049
Number of pages8
JournalPsychonomic Bulletin and Review
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2011
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by fellowships from the Israel Science Foundation (Bikura), the Rothschild Foundation, and the Weizmann Institute of Science–Advancing Women in Science (to L.G.) and by NIH Grants 2RO1MH058383, on visual coding and the deployment of attention, and 1RO1MH062331, on spatial representations and attention (to A.T.).


  • Grouping
  • Object files
  • Perception
  • Repletion blindness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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