Task-irrelevant memory load induces inattentional blindness without temporo-parietal suppression

Daisuke Matsuyoshi*, Takashi Ikeda, Nobukatsu Sawamoto, Ryusuke Kakigi, Hidenao Fukuyama, Naoyuki Osaka

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


We often fail to consciously detect an unexpected object when we are engaged in an attention-demanding task (inattentional blindness). The inattentional blindness which is induced by visual short-term memory (VSTM) load has been proposed to result from a suppression of temporo-parietal junction (TPJ) activity that involves stimulus-driven attention. However, the fact that, inversely proportional to TPJ activity, intraparietal sulcus (IPS) activity correlates with VSTM load renders questionable the account of inattentional blindness based only on TPJ activity. Here, we investigated whether the TPJ is solely responsible for inattentional blindness by decoupling IPS and TPJ responses to VSTM load and then using the same manipulation to test the behavioral inattentional blindness performance. Experiment 1 showed that TPJ activity was not suppressed by task-irrelevant load while the IPS responded to both task-relevant and task-irrelevant load. Although the TPJ account of inattentional blindness predicts that the degree of inattentional blindness should track TPJ activity, we found in Experiment 2 that inattentional blindness was induced not only by task-relevant load but also by task-irrelevant load, showing inconsistency between the extent of inattentional blindness and TPJ response. These findings suggest that inattentional blindness can be induced without suppression of TPJ activity and seem to offer the possibility that the IPS contributes to conscious perception.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3094-3101
Number of pages8
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Aug
Externally publishedYes


  • Attention
  • FMRI
  • Inattentional blindness
  • Intraparietal sulcus
  • Temporo-parietal junction
  • Visual short-term memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'Task-irrelevant memory load induces inattentional blindness without temporo-parietal suppression'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this