November 2002
Volume 2, Issue 7
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   November 2002
Semantic benefit is additive in the attentional blink
Author Affiliations
  • Jodi L. Davenport
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA
  • Mary C. Potter
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA
Journal of Vision November 2002, Vol.2, 455. doi:
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      Jodi L. Davenport, Mary C. Potter; Semantic benefit is additive in the attentional blink. Journal of Vision 2002;2(7):455.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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The attentional blink (AB) is a failure to identify the second of two targets presented in a stream of distractors with a stimulus onset asynchrony (SOA) of 200–500 ms. While the blinked target is unavailable for report, previous studies suggest that the target is processed to a semantic level. In two experiments we asked whether semantic priming modulates the attentional blink. The first experiment instructed subjects to attend to a category of words (e.g., animals or vegetables) for a block of trials. Both, one or neither of the targets in the single stream RSVP task was a word from the attended category; subjects were told to report both word targets among symbol distractors. The second experiment used a dual stream RSVP task to investigate the effects of priming. Each trial was primed by a word that was either semantically related to one of the target words or not semantically related to either word; subjects were again told to report both words. In both experiments AB was found for the second target at an SOA of 213 ms. A significant benefit for targets that were in the attended category (a .08 advantage) or were semantically primed (a .24 advantage) occurred equally for first and second targets at all SOAs. The results suggest that the semantic benefit is purely additive and does not selectively assist targets that are subject to AB.

Davenport, J. L., Potter, M. C.(2002). Semantic benefit is additive in the attentional blink [Abstract]. Journal of Vision, 2( 7): 455, 455a,, doi:10.1167/2.7.455. [CrossRef]
 We would like to acknowledge the support of NIMH grant MH47432 and NIMH grant MH20007.

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