Testing models of the attentional blink: Does masking increase processing duration in RSVP?

Research output: Contribution to conferenceOtherAcademic


Theories of the attentional blink (AB) – an impairment in perceiving the second of two targets shown within less than 500 ms of each other – generally assume that this effect reflects the time required to consolidate the first target in memory. In this view, the fact that the AB is strongly increased when the first target is masked suggests that masking prolongs the time needed for first-target consolidation. It is also possible, however, that the presence of a mask could elicit additional processing mechanisms that cause an increased blink without prolonging the duration of T1 processing. To answer this question, we examined reaction times for masked and unmasked targets embedded in rapid serial visual presentation. The results showed an increase in median reaction times for targets followed by immediate or delayed masks relative to targets followed by blanks. This was true for both target detection (spot any letter among numbers) and target discrimination (2AFC vowel vs consonant) tasks. These results corroborate theories of the AB in which the depth of the AB is related to the duration of T1 processing (Bowman & Wyble 2007; Wyble, Bowman & Nieuwenstein 2009).
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Nov-2012
Event53rd Annual meeting of the Psychonomic Society - Minneapolis, MN, United States
Duration: 1-Nov-201230-Nov-2012


Conference53rd Annual meeting of the Psychonomic Society
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityMinneapolis, MN

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