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Hoon Choi, Takeo Watanabe; Changes induced by attentional training - capacity increase vs. allocation changes. Journal of Vision 2010;10(7):1099. doi: 10.1167/10.7.1099.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Attentional blink (AB) is a phenomenon in which identification of the second visual target (T2) is impaired in rapid serial visual presentation (RSVP) when it is presented within half a second after the appearance of the first target (T1). Even though AB has been thought to reflect the limited capacity of visual systems, we found that this robust phenomenon was removed after a single day of attentional training with a modified RSVP task in which T2 was spotlighted red while both T1 and all the distractors were white. Thereafter AB was continually not observed at least for a few months (Choi & Watanabe, 2009 VSS). How was the attentional training able to overcome this kind of capacity limitation? Training could have increased the overall attentional capacity of our visual system, or it could have simply changed the allocation of attentional resources. To address this question, in the current study we measured AB before and after the training at various SOAs (stimulus onset asynchrony) between T1 and T2 while a 200ms fixed SOA was employed during the training. If the training simply changed the allocation of attentional resources, a certain tradeoff (AB occurring at another SOA) should be observed. After 2 days of training with a spotlighted T2 at the fixed SOA, AB effects were eliminated at multiple SOAs that had AB effects prior to training. Training also increased the performance of identifying T1. When T2 was presented immediately after T1 without any distractors, AB did not occur (lag 1 sparing) but the performance in detecting T1 was poor. However, after training the performances in identifying T1 were significantly improved with no change in performance of identifying T2. These results thus indicate that attentional training increases the attentional capacity rather than changing the attentional resource allocation.
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