The Attentional Blink is Modulated by First Target Contrast: Implications of an Attention Capture Hypothesis

Simon Nielsen, Tobias Andersen

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    Abstract

    When two targets (T1 & T2) are presented in rapid succession, observers often fail to report T2 if they attend to T1. The bottleneck theory proposes that this attentional blink (AB) is due to T1 occupying a slow processing stage when T2 is presented. Accordingly, if increasing T1 difficulty increases T1 processing time, this should cause a greater AB. The attention capture hypothesis suggests that T1 captures attention, which cannot be reallocated to T2 in time. Accordingly, if increasing T1 difficulty decreases T1 saliency, this should cause a smaller AB. In two experiments we find support for an attention capture hypothesis. In Experiment 1 we find that AB magnitude increases with T1 contrast – but only when T1 is unmasked. In Experiment 2 we add Gaussian noise to targets and vary T1 contrast but keep T1 ‘s SNR constant. Again we find that AB magnitude increases with T1 contrast.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings of the Cognitive Science Society's Annual meeting 2011
    Publication date2011
    Publication statusPublished - 2011
    EventCognitive Science Society's Annual meeting - Boston, Massachusetts, USA
    Duration: 1 Jan 2011 → …

    Conference

    ConferenceCognitive Science Society's Annual meeting
    CityBoston, Massachusetts, USA
    Period01/01/2011 → …

    Keywords

    • Attentional Blink
    • Spatial Attention
    • Human Vision
    • First Target Interference
    • Temporal Attention
    • Attention Capture

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