It is common knowledge that attention is important for learning. We need to utilize attention in order to learn something efficiently and effectively. Similarly, we may also need to acquire familiarity with (i.e., learn) our surroundings in order to utilize our attention. In this study, learning is defined as a product of one's exposure to natural visual stimuli. Using a virtual model of a natural scene, we investigate both attention and its relationship to learning, according to this definition. Specifically, our focus is the effect of environment familiarity on gaze direction. Our findings reveal that the factor of familiarity with one's surroundings in virtual reality environments exerts a significant influence on peoples' ability to detect a variety of specific changes that occur within scenes under their observation. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.