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Kimron Shapiro, Trafton Drew; Conceptual Masking in the Attentional Blink Paradigm. Journal of Vision 2004;4(8):354. doi: 10.1167/4.8.354.
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After successful detection or identification of a target item within a stream of rapidly displayed visual stimuli, subsequent detection/identification of an additional target is impaired for approximately 500ms. This impairment is known as the “attentional blink” (AB; Raymond, Shapiro & Arnell, 1992) and has been studied extensively with regard to many varied aspects of the stimuli comprising this paradigm. For example, previous studies have found that if either the first (T1) or second target (T2) is not followed by a mask, the AB impairment is significantly reduced. Whereas perceptual manipulations, e.g., integration and interruption masking, have been studied with regard to their contribution to producing the AB, the present three experiments used “repetition blindness” (RB; Kanwisher, 1987) to investigate a possible conceptual role for masking in the AB paradigm. In the RB effect, report of the second of two identical stimuli occurring within a short temporal interval is impaired. Experiment 1 determined that enabling the conditions which should produce an RB effect on the T1 mask not only improves T1 accuracy but reduces the magnitude of the AB on T2. Experiment 2 confirmed that RB did indeed occur in the conditions employed in Experiment 1. Experiment 3 showed that less AB also results when the T2 mask is subjected to RB from T1 but when T1 and T2 are identical, a larger than normal “AB” occurs. These findings suggest that 1) distractors in the AB paradigm are processed to a level sufficient to produce RB, shedding additional light on conditions required to produce the RB effect, but more importantly 2) ‘masking’ in the AB paradigm may occur at a higher (i.e., conceptual) level than previously thought possible.
The Wellcome Trust, UK
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