Daniel J Simons


Research Interests

Visual cognition, attention, perception, memory, research methods and practices, statistics, 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.


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

Additional Campus Affiliations

Professor, Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology
Professor, Charles H. Sandage Department of Advertising
Professor, Business Administration

Recent Publications

Chabris, C. F., Heck, P. R., Mandart, J., Benjamin, D. J., & Simons, D. J. (2019). No Evidence That Experiencing Physical Warmth Promotes Interpersonal Warmth: Two Failures to Replicate. Social Psychology, 50(2), 127-132. https://doi.org/10.1027/1864-9335/a000361

Yao, R., Wood, K., & Simons, D. J. (2019). As if by Magic: An Abrupt Change in Motion Direction Induces Change Blindness. Psychological Science, 30(3), 436-443. https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797618822969

Wood, K., & Simons, D. J. (2019). Processing without noticing in inattentional blindness: A replication of Moore and Egeth (1997) and Mack and Rock (1998). Attention, Perception, and Psychophysics, 81(1). https://doi.org/10.3758/s13414-018-1629-1

Heck, P. R., Simons, D. J., & Chabris, C. F. (2018). 65% of Americans believe they are above average in intelligence: Results of two nationally representative surveys. PLoS One, 13(7), [e0200103]. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0200103

Wood, K., & Simons, D. J. (2017). The role of similarity in inattentional blindness: Selective enhancement, selective suppression, or both?. Visual Cognition, 25(9-10), 972-980. https://doi.org/10.1080/13506285.2017.1365791

View all publications on Illinois Experts