This exhibit explores our ability to pay attention to several things at once. When we scan a scene, we keep track of things we've already noticed and determine what to look at next—even though we may not be aware of doing so. Some scientists believe we keep a visual “snapshot” of the scene in our brains. Others, like Dr. Zenon Pylyshyn, believe we use something more like a mental list. This exhibit was inspired by experiments Dr. Pylyshyn and his colleagues use to scientifically study how attention works.

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