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Murray L Lawson, Bendon Booth, Karen Burns, Elizabeth Davis, Matthew Fuller, Georgina Labropoulos, Somer Thorneycroft, Sheila G Crewther; Investigating the relationship between performance on the Attentional Blink and Change Detection tasks. Journal of Vision 2003;3(9):743. doi: 10.1167/3.9.743.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Both the attentional blink (AB) and change blindness (CB) paradigms represent temporal limitations on cognitive processing resulting in functional blindness for attended visual information. The AB refers to the refractory period following the identification of a target stimulus, during which the performance of a second target detection is impaired. Change blindness, on the other hand, refers to an inability to detect rapid spatial and temporal changes in the visual field. Neuro-imaging evidence suggests that the two processes may involve similar brain areas and both have been explained with reference to models of visual short-term memory. However, no clear evidence exists to suggest a link between performances on the two tasks. Thus, the aim of the current experiment was to examine the relationship between attentional blink duration and the time needed to detect change in the visual environment. Fifty-four participants between the ages of 18–49 completed an adaptive threshold method of estimating the AB duration (defined as 79% correct detection of the second target) and a second task estimating the time required for detection of change in the visual scene. The participants were presented with two tasks in random order and with other measures of short-term memory, processing speed and non-verbal mentation, however this experiment only focused ascertaining the relationship between AB and CB and possible links with short-term memory function. The results showed no significant correlation between performance in terms of time on the AB and CB tasks, nor between the either task and other measures of short term memory. Thus, although the CB and AB tasks may involve some common neural mechanisms, the current results suggest that they may represent different limitations on visual processing and do not necessarily relate to conventional measures of short-term memory functioning.
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