Temporal limits of selection and memory encoding: A comparison of whole versus partial report in rapid serial visual presentation

Mark R. Nieuwenstein, Mary C. Potter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

98 Citations (Scopus)


People often fail to recall the second of two visual targets presented within 500 ms in rapid serial visual presentation (RSVP). This effect is called the attentional blink. One explanation of the attentional blink is that processes involved in encoding the first target into memory are slow and capacity limited. Here, however, we show that the attentional blink should be ascribed to attentional selection, not consolidation of the first target. Rapid sequences of six letters were presented, and observers had to report either all the letters (whole-report condition) or a subset of the letters (partial-report condition). Selection in partial report was based on color (e.g., report the two red letters) or identity (i.e., report all letters from a particular letter onward). In both cases, recall of letters presented shortly after the first selected letter was impaired, whereas recall of the corresponding letters was relatively accurate with whole report.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)471-475
Number of pages5
JournalPsychological Science
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun-2006
Externally publishedYes



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