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Attentional capture in rapid serial visual presentation

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image of Spatial Vision
For more content, see Multisensory Research and Seeing and Perceiving.

We examined whether attentional capture can occur during an attentional blink (AB). If attention were 'locked up' during an AB, capture should not occur. To test for capture, we varied the salience of the two targets (T1 and T2) or of a distractor. Salience was controlled by adjusting chromaticity at equiluminance to equate simple reaction times. Experiment 1 demonstrated that the extent of AB varied almost entirely with T2 salience, not with T1 salience. In Experiment 2, a salient distractor between T1 and T2 reduced the AB without affecting its temporal profile; a salient distractor after T2 had no effect on AB. We conclude that attentional capture can occur during the AB, and stimulus salience modulates, rather than overriding, the AB. Independent of the post-attentional (consolidation) mechanism primarily responsible for the AB, stimulus salience affects how an attention gate is triggered (Shih, 2000).

Affiliations: 1: School of Psychology, University of Southampton, Highfield, SO17 1BJ, UK; 2: Department of Psychology, Northeastern University, Boston, MA 02115, USA


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