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Mark R. Nieuwenstein, Marvin M. Chun; Paving the way to visual awareness: Precuing T2 attenuates the attentional blink. Journal of Vision 2004;4(8):357. doi: 10.1167/4.8.357.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
The second of two visual targets (T1 and T2) presented in rapid serial visual presentation (RSVP) often fails to reach awareness when these targets are presented within a period of less than 500 ms. The duration and magnitude of this so-called attentional blink effect are reduced when the second of two red, digit, targets presented in a sequence of black letters is precued by a red, letter, distractor (Nieuwenstein, Hooge & Van der Lubbe, 2003, VSS). The present study tests 1) whether attenuation of the AB also occurs when the precue matches the target set, but does not pop out of the RSVP sequence, and, 2) whether this effect can be understood as a precue benefit or in terms of a reduced attention-switching cost. The first experiment demonstrated a precue benefit even when the precue did not pop out from the multi-colored RSVP stream. The second experiment demonstrated that the magnitude of the precuing benefit for T2 report depended on the temporal separation of the precue and T2, consistent with a cuing benefit rather than an attention-switching cost. Based on these results, we propose that the cause of the failure to report T2 is that the attentional demand of processing T1 delays the allocation of attention to new targets detected early on in processing. As a consequence, the item to follow T2 may receive more attention than T2, thereby causing object substitution of T2. When T2 is precued, however, T2 may become the item that substitutes the precue, thereby causing attenuation of the attentional blink.
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