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Alon Zivony, Dominique Lamy; High level visual processing is not spared from the attentional blink. Journal of Vision 2017;17(10):1201. doi: 10.1167/17.10.1201.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
The attentional blink (AB) refers to impaired target identification when it follows a previous target within 500ms. The AB also reduces distractor intrusions (erroneous reports of a distractor instead of the target) from distractors that immediately precede the target. Current theories of the AB suggest that it reflects a delay in the consolidation of fully processed visual stimuli into working memory. Alternatively, the AB might reflect impaired processing of visual information. To confront these competing accounts, we manipulated the feature dimension that participants had to report (i.e., the response feature). We predicted that if perceptual processing is impaired by the blink, the AB and the accompanying reduction in pre-target distractor intrusions should be largest for the more complex response feature. Conversely, we expected no effect of the present manipulation if the AB only affects consolidation in working memory. The results of three experiments showed that when participants had to report the more complex feature (identity) the AB was larger and intrusions from pre-target distractors were less frequent, relative to when the response feature was simpler (color). We conclude that the visual processing of high level features is more susceptible to the blink disruption than the processing of low level features, which is incompatible with the popular notion that stimuli are fully processed during the blink
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2017
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