Daniel J. Simons's directory photo.

Daniel J. Simons


Primary Affiliation

Mechanisms of Cognitive Control


Status Affiliate Faculty

Home Department of Psychology

Phone 689-1527



  • Biography

    Daniel Simons received his Ph.D. in psychology from Cornell University in 1997. Before coming to the University of Illinois, he spent five years in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University, first as an assistant professor and then as John Loeb Associate Professor. He is an associate professor in the U of I Department of Psychology and a full-time faculty member in the Beckman Institute Human Perception and Performance group where he heads the Visual Cognition Laboratory. His fields of interest include visual cognition, attention, visual perception, change detection, visual memory, inattention, and spatial cognition.

  • Honors

    APA Distinguished Scientific Award for Early Career Contribution to Psychology in the area of Perception/Motor Performance (2003), Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow (1999-2003).

  • Research

    The Visual Cognition Laboratory focuses on the cognitive and perceptual underpinnings of conscious visual experience. One line of research focuses on change blindness- the failure to notice large changes to visual scenes. These failures 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 visual events when attention is otherwise engaged and the events are unexpected. Other active research interests include object recognition, scene perception, visual memory, implicit perception, and spatial cognition.

    Research in the Visual Cognition Laboratory adopts methods ranging from real-world and video-based approaches to computer-based psychophysical techniques. 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.

  • 2014

    • Bredemeier, K.; Hur, J.; Berenbaum, H.; Heller, W.; Simons, D. J., Individual Differences in Emotional Distress and Susceptibility to Inattentional Blindness. Psychology of Consciousness: Theory, Research, and Practice 2014, 1, 370-386, DOI:10.1037/cns0000032.
    • Doyen, S.; Klein, O.; Simons, D. J.; Cleeremans, A., On the Other Side of the Mirror: Priming in Cognitive and Social Psychology. Social Cognition 2014, 32, 12-32.
    • Huttermann, S.; Memmert, D.; Simons, D. J., The Size and Shape of the Attentional “Spotlight” Varies with Differences in Sports Expertise. Journal of Experimental Psychology-Applied 2014, 20, (2), 147-157, DOI:10.1037/Xap0000012.
    • Simons, D. J., Failures of Awareness: The Case of Inattentional Blindness, In Nova Textbook Series: Psychology. Biswas-Diener, R., Diener, E., Eds.; DEF Publishers, Champaign, IL, 2014,
    • Simons, D. J., The Value of Direct Replication. Perspectives on Psychological Science 2014, 9, (1), 76-80, DOI: 10.1177/1745691613514755.
    • Simons, D. J.; Holcombe, A. O., Registered Replication Reports: A New Article Type at Perspectives on Psychological Science. Observer 2014, 27, (3), DOI:
    • Stothart, C. R.; Simons, D. J.; Boot, W. R.; Kramer, A. F., Is the Effect of Aerobic Exerciseon Cognition a Placebo Effect? PLOS One 2014, 9, (10), DOI:ARTN e109557 DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0109557.


    • Boot, W. R.; Simons, D. J.; Stothart, C.; Stutts, C., The Pervasive Problem with Placebos in Psychology: Why Active Control Groups Are Not Sufficient to Rule out Placebo Effects. Perspectives on Psychological Science 2013, 8, (4), 445-454, DOI: 10.1177/1745691613491271.
    • Gaspar, J. G.; Neider, M. B.; Simons, D. J.; McCarley, J. S.; Kramer, A. F., Change Detection: Training and Transfer. Plos One 2013, 8, (6), DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0067781.
    • Huettermann, S.; Memmert, D.; Simons, D. J.; Bock, O., Fixation Strategy Influences the Ability to Focus Attention on Two Spatially Separate Objects. Plos One 2013, 8, (6), DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0065673.
    • Marchant, A. P.; Simons, D. J.; de Fockert, J. W., Ensemble Representations: Effects of Set Size and Item Heterogeneity on Average Size Perception. Acta Psychologica 2013, 142, (2), 245-250.
    • Simons, D. J., In Defense of Short and Sexy. European Journal of Personality: Commentary on Asendorpf et al. European Journal of Personality 2013, 27, 133-134.
    • Simons, D. J., Unskilled and Optimistic: Overconfident Predictions Despite Calibrated Knowledge of Relative Skill. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review 2013, 20, (3), 601-607, DOI: 10.3758/s13423-013-0379-2.


    • Boot, W. R.; Simons, D. J., Advances in Video Game Methods and Reporting Practices (but Still Room for Improvement): A Commentary on Strobach, Frensch, and Schubert (2012). Acta Psychologica 2012, 141, (2), 276-277.
    • Bredemeier, K.; Berenbaum, H.; Brockmole, J. R.; Boot, W. R.; Simons, D. J.; Most, S. B., A Load on My Mind: Evidence That Anhedonic Depression Is Like Multi-Tasking. Acta Psychologica 2012, 139, (1), 137-145.
    • Bredemeier, K.; Simons, D. J., Working Memory and Inattentional Blindness. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review 2012, 19, (2), 239-244.
    • Lee, H.; Boot, W. R.; Basak, C.; Voss, M. W.; Prakash, R. S.; Neider, M.; Erickson, K. I.; Simons, D. J.; Fabiani, M.; Gratton, G.; Low, K. A.; Kramer, A. F., Performance Gains from Directed Training Do Not Transfer to Untrained Tasks. Acta Psychologica 2012, 139, (1), 146-158.
    • Simons, D. J.; Chabris, C. F., Common (Mis)Beliefs About Memory: A Replication and Comparison of Telephone and Mechanical Turk Survey Methods. Plos One 2012, 7, (12).
    • Voss, M. W.; Prakash, R. S.; Erickson, K. I.; Boot, W. R.; Basak, C.; Neider, M. B.; Simons, D. J.; Fabiani, M.; Gratton, G.; Kramer, A. F., Effects of Training Strategies Implemented in a Complex Videogame on Functional Connectivity of Attentional Networks. Neuroimage 2012, 59, (1), 138-148.
    • Voss, M. W.; Prakash, R. S.; Erickson, K. I.; Boot, W. R.; Basak, C.; Neider, M. B.; Simons, D. J.; Fabiani, M.; Gratton, G.; Kramer, A. F., Effects of Training Strategies Implemented in a Complex Videogame on Functional Connectivity of Attentional Networks. Neuroimage 2012, 59, (1), 138-148.


    • Bredemeier, K.; Berenbaum, H.; Most, S. B.; Simons, D. J., Links between Neuroticism, Emotional Distress, and Disengaging Attention: Evidence from a Single-Target Rsvp Task. Cognition & Emotion 2011, 25, (8), 1510-1519.
    • Chabris, C. F.; Simons, D. J., The Invisible Gorilla: And Other Ways Our Intuitions Deceive Us. Crown Publishing Group (Random House): New York, 2011.
    • Chabris, C. F.; Weinberger, A.; Fontaine, M.; Simons, D. J., You Do Not Talk About Fight Club If You Do Not Notice Fight Club: Inattentional Blindness For A Simulated Real-World Assault. i-Perception 2011, 2, 150-153.
    • Jensen, M. S.; Yao, R.; Street, W. N.; Simons, D. J., Change Blindness and Inattentional Blindness. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews-Cognitive Science 2011, 2, (5), 529-546.
    • Simons, D. J.; Chabris, C. F., What People Believe About How Memory Works: A Representative Survey of the Us Population. PLoS One 2011, 6, (8).
    • Vo, L. T. K.; Walther, D. B.; Kramer, A. F.; Erickson, K. I.; Boot, W. R.; Voss, M. W.; Prakash, R. S.; Lee, H.; Fabiani, M.; Gratton, G.; Simons, D. J.; Sutton, B. P.; Wang, M. Y., Predicting Individuals' Learning Success from Patterns of Pre-Learning MRI Activity. PLOS One 2011, 6, (1).


    • Boot, W. R.; Basak, C.; Erickson, K. I.; Neider, M.; Simons, D. J.; Fabiani, M.; Gratton, G.; Voss, M. W.; Prakash, R.; Lee, H.; Low, K. A.; Kramer, A. F., Transfer of skill engendered by complex task training under conditions of variable priority. Acta Psychologica 2010, 135, (3), 349-357.
    • Hollingworth, A.; Simons, D. J.; Franconeri, S. L., New objects do not capture attention without a sensory transient. Attention Perception & Psychophysics 2010, 72, (5), 1298-1310.


    • Wan, X. I.; Ambinder, M. S.; Simons, D. J., Change blindness. In The Oxford Companion to Consciousness Bayne, T.; Cleeremans, A.; Wilken, P., Eds. Oxford University Press: Oxford, UK, 2009; pp 130-133.
    • Memmert, D.; Simons, D. J.; Grimme, T., The relationship between visual attention and expertise in sports. Psychology of Sport and Exercise 2009, 10, (1), 146-151.
    • Simons, D. J.; Jensen, M. S., The effects of individual differences and task difficulty on inattentional blindness. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review 2009, 16, (2), 398-403.


    • Boot, W. R.; Kramer, A. F.; Simons, D. J.; Fabiani, M.; Gratton, G., The effects of video game playing on attention, memory, and executive control. ACTA Psychologica 2008, 129, (3), 387-398.
    • Myczek, K.; Simons, D. J., Better than average: Alternatives to statistical summary representations for rapid judgments of average size. Perception & Psychophysics 2008, 70, (5), 772-788.
    • Simons, D. J.; Myczek, K., Average size perception and the allure of a new mechanism. Perception & Psychophysics 2008, 70, (7), 1335-1336.


    • Horrey, W. J.; Simons, D. J., Examining cognitive interference and adaptive safety behaviours in tactical vehicle control. Ergonomics 2007, 50, (8), 1340-1350.
    • Loschky, L. C.; Sethi, A.; Simons, D. J.; Pydimarri, T. N.; Ochs, D.; Corbeille, J. L., The importance of information localization in scene gist recognition. Journal of Experimental Psychology-Human Perception and Performance 2007, 33, (6), 1431-1450.
    • Ross, B. H.; Wang, R. F.; Kramer, A. F.; Simons, D. J.; Crowell, J. A., Action information from classification learning. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review 2007, 14, (3), 500-504.
    • Simons, D. J., Inattentional Blindness. Scholarpedia 2007, 2, (5), 3244.
    • Simons, D. J.; Hannula, D. E.; Warren, D. E.; Day, S. W., Behavioral, neuroimaging, and neuropsychological approaches to implicit perception. In Cambridge Handbook of Consciousness, Zelazo, P.; Moscovitch, M.; Thompson, E., Eds. Cambridge University Press: New York, 2007; pp 207-250.
    • Simons, D. J.; Levin, D. T., Ideas of Lasting Influence: Hochberg's anticipation of research on change blindness and motion picture perception. In The mind's eye: Julian Hochberg on the perception of the world, pictures, and film, Peterson, M. A.; Gillam, B.; Sedgwick, H. A., Eds. Oxford University Press: Oxford, 2007.
    • Tager-Flusberg, H.; Plesa-Skwerer, D.; Schofield, C.; Verbalis, A.; Simons, D. J., Change detection as a tool for assessing attentional deployment in atypical populations: The case of Williams Syndrome. Cognition, Brain, & Behavior 2007, 11, 491-506.


    • Horrey, W. J.; Simons, D. J.; Buschmann, E. G.; Zinter, K. M., Assessing interference from mental workload using a naturalistic simulated driving task: A pilot study. Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 50th Annual Meeting 2006. Human Factors and Ergonomics Society: Santa Monica, CA, 2006; pp 2003-2007.
    • Simons, D.; Lleras, A.; Martinez-Conde, S.; Slichter, D.; Caddigan, E.; Nevarez, G., Induced visual fading of complex images. Journal of Vision 2006, 6, (10), 1093-1101.
    • Wang, R. X. F.; Crowell, J. A.; Simons, D. J.; Irwin, D. E.; Kramer, A. F.; Ambinder, M. S.; Thomas, L. E.; Gosney, J. L.; Levinthal, B. R.; Hsieh, B. B., Spatial updating relies on an egocentric representation of space: Effects of the number of objects. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review 2006, 13, (2), 281-286.


    • Franconeri, S.L. and Simons, D.J. (2003), "Moving and Looming Stimuli Capture Attention," Perception & Psychophysics, 65/7, pp. 999-1010.


    • Simons, D.J., Wang, R.F., and Roddenberry, D. (2002), "Object Recognition is Differentially Affected by Display Orientation and Observer Viewpoint Changes," Perception & Psychophysics, 64, pp. 521-530.


    • Most, S.B., Simons, D.J., Scholl, B.J., Jimenez, R., Clifford, E., and Chabris, C.F. (2000), "How not to be Seen: The Contribution of Similarity and Selective Ignoring to Sustained Inattentional Blindness," Psychological Science, 12, pp. 9-17.
    • Simons, D.J. (2000), "Attentional capture and inattentional blindness," Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 4, pp. 147-155.
    • Simons, D.J. (2000), "Current Approaches to Change Blindness," Visual Cognition: Special Issue on Change Detection and Visual Memory, 7, pp. 1-16.


    • Simons, D.J. and Chabris, C.F. (1999), "Gorillas in Our Midst: Sustained Inattentional Blindness for Dynamic Events," Perception, 28, pp. 1059-1074.