Many women have probably gotten mad at their significant others when they fail to notice a supposedly obvious changed appearance such as a new hairstyle. Scientists attribute this behavior to change blindness which is defined by Wikipedia as being a perceptual phenomenon that occurs when a change in a visual stimulus is introduced and the observer does not notice it.
A study conducted tested random pedestrians from Harvard and Kent State Universities who were approached by an actor asking for directions. While the pedestrian was giving the directions, a pair of workmen would pass in between the two individuals with a wooden frame blocking the actor from the sight of the pedestrian. While this was happening, the first actor was substituted by another of a different height and build with a different outfit. A whopping 50% of the participants did not notice that they were interacting with a different person altogether.
The study went further to say that we are not nearly aware of what goes on around us and we may actually take in less of our surroundings than we think. It also shows us how selective of our immediate environment we are.
Another form of change blindness is is repetition blindness whereby a repeated similar visual stimulus, such as a word, is not noticed by the observer as having occurred twice. Example being the double ‘is’ in the previous sentence.
Thank you Science for explaining to the women why they should not get mad at the male figures in their lives for not noticing their new hairdos. However if these men would not notice a new bizarre change, maybe they need to visit an ophthalmologist.