September 2011
Volume 11, Issue 11
Free
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   September 2011
Higher levels of alpha event-related desynchronization are associated with the attentional blink
Author Affiliations
  • Mary H. H
    Psychology, Brock University, Canada
  • Karen M. Arnell
    Psychology, Brock University, Canada
Journal of Vision September 2011, Vol.11, 196. doi:10.1167/11.11.196
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      Mary H. H, Karen M. Arnell; Higher levels of alpha event-related desynchronization are associated with the attentional blink. Journal of Vision 2011;11(11):196. doi: 10.1167/11.11.196.

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Abstract

Accuracy at detecting or identifying a second target (T2) is reduced when it is presented within 500 ms of a first target (T1) in a rapid serial visual presentation (RSVP). This limitation of visual attention is referred to as an attentional blink (AB). Cognitive control models of the AB propose that the combination of limited attentional resources and inappropriate management of attention by top-down cognitive control underlie the AB. Reducing the amount of attentional investment with an additional task or instructing the use of a more relaxed cognitive approach have been found to reduce the magnitude of the AB. As well, personality and affective traits, as well as affective states, associated with a broader or more flexible cognitive approach have been found to predict smaller AB magnitudes. Previously, event-related desynchronization (ERD) in the alpha range has been used to measure attentional investment in anticipation of an imminent visual stimulus. In the current study alpha ERD was used to investigate whether the degree of attentional investment in anticipation of an RSVP trial was related to performance outcomes on the AB task. A sustained alpha ERD was observed during a 2-second foreperiod preceding the RSVP stream. As hypothesized, greater alpha ERD before the RSVP trial, indicating greater anticipatory attentional investment, was found on short lag trials where an AB was present (inaccurate T2 performance) compared to short lag trials where an AB did not occur. However, on trials where T2 was presented after a longer interval relative to T1, greater alpha ERD before the RSVP trial was found on trials with accurate T2 performance relative to trials where T2 was incorrect. Results support models of the AB that propose greater attentional investment underlies the AB, and furthermore that this attentional investment is prepared in anticipation of each RSVP trial.

NSERC, CFI, OIT. 
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