On the Factors Causing Processing Difficulty of Multiple-Scene Displays

Matthew J. Stainer, Kenneth C. Scott-Brown, Benjamin W. Tatler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
21 Downloads (Pure)


Multiplex viewing of static or dynamic scenes is an increasing feature of screen media. Most existing multiplex experiments have examined detection across increasing scene numbers, but currently no systematic evaluation of the factors that might produce difficulty in processing multiplexes exists. Across five experiments we provide such an evaluation. Experiment 1 characterises difficulty in change detection when the number of scenes is increased. Experiment 2 reveals that the increased difficulty across multiple-scene displays is caused by the total amount of visual information accounts for differences in change detection times, regardless of whether this information is presented across multiple scenes, or contained in one scene. Experiment 3 shows that whether quadrants of a display were drawn from the same, or different scenes did not affect change detection performance. Experiment 4 demonstrates that knowing which scene the change will occur in means participants can perform at monoplex level. Finally, Experiment 5 finds that changes of central interest in multiplexed scenes are detected far easier than marginal interest changes to such an extent that a centrally interesting object removal in nine screens is detected more rapidly than a marginally interesting object removal in four screens. Processing multiple-screen displays therefore seems dependent on the amount of information, and the importance of that information to the task, rather than simply the number of scenes in the display. We discuss the theoretical and applied implications of these findings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-26
Number of pages26
Issue number2
Early online date8 Mar 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2017

Bibliographical note

The authors would like to thank Ioana Dragusin and Abby McPhail for assistance with data collection.

Declaration of Conflicting Interests
The author(s) declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.

The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This work was supported by the University of Dundee. Preparatory work leading to this research was enabled thanks to a British Academy project grant to Ken Scott–Brown


  • multiple-scene viewing
  • multiplex displays
  • change detection
  • scene viewing
  • attention


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