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Mary C. Potter, Rijuta Pandav, Brad Wyble; Transient attention when detecting pictures in RSVP search. Journal of Vision 2007;7(9):465. doi: 10.1167/7.9.465.
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When searching for two target in a rapid serial visual presentation (RSVP) viewers often miss the second target (T2) if it appears soon after T1, an effect termed an attentional blink. When T2 appears immediately after T1, however, it is relatively easy to report (lag 1 sparing). Wyble, Bowman, & Potter (2006) propose that detection of a target in an RSVP sequence generates a brief burst of transient attention lasting about 150 ms that benefits both the target and any immediately following stimulus appearing at the same location. Most previous experiments used simple stimuli such as letters, digits, or words; we asked whether lag 1 sparing would be found for more complex targets such as pictures of objects in a specified category. (Evans & Treisman (2005) found an attentional blink for picture targets, but they did not include lag 1.) Sequences of 8 color photographs were presented for 107 ms/picture. Subjects looked for two targets from a category such as fruit, birds, or furniture. Subjects reported the names of the two targets, e.g., bed, chair. No pictures were repeated. T1 was reported correctly on 82% of the trials. Given a correct T1, T2 was correct on 78% (lag 1), 56% (lag 2), and 81% (lag 4) of the trials, main effect of lag, p [[lt]] .001. Thus, transient attention generated by detection of the first target benefits a second target appearing within 107 ms, but there is an attentional blink 213 ms after the onset of the first target (lag 2). In a second experiment with two adjacent streams the two targets appeared in either the same or different locations. The transient attention hypothesis predicts a lag 1 benefit in the same stream only.
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