Whole report versus partial report in RSVP sentences

Mary C. Potter, Mark Nieuwenstein, Nina Strohminger

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30 Citations (Scopus)


A sentence is readily understood and recalled when presented one word at a time using rapid serial visual presentation (RSVP) at 10 words/s [Potter, M. C. (1984). Rapid serial visual presentation (RSVP): A method for studying language processing. In D. Kieras & M. Just (Eds.), New methods in reading comprehension research (pp. 91-118). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.]. In contrast, selecting just two colored letters at 10 letters/s results in easy detection of the first target but poor recall for the second when it appears 200-500 ms later. This attentional blink disappears when all letters must be reported; instead, performance drops more gradually over serial position [Nieuwenstein, M. R., & Potter, M. C. (2006). Temporal limits of selection and memory encoding: A comparison of whole versus partial report in rapid serial visual presentation. Psychological Science, 17, 471-475.]. Would target words in sentences escape an attentional blink? Subjects either reported two target words (in red or uppercase) or the whole 10-word sentence. There was a blink for Target 2 in partial report, but that target was easily remembered in whole report. With scrambled sentences whole report dropped but partial report was unaffected, again showing a blink. The attentional blink is not due to memory processing of Target 1, but to target selection, which is incompatible with sentence processing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)907-915
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Memory and Language
Issue number4
Early online date28-Jan-2008
Publication statusPublished - May-2008
Externally publishedYes

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