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Ingrid Olson, Marian Berryhill, Steven Most; The blinking emotionalattentional blink and the parietal lobe. Journal of Vision 2007;7(9):530. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/7.9.530.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Emotional stimuli engage attentional resources to the neglect of actively sought targets. This has been illustrated in a task termed “attentional rubbernecking” (Most et al,2005), in which attentional blinks are spontaneously induced by emotional distractors. In control subjects, this occurs when the target follows an emotional distractor by two items (Lag 2) and when it immediately precedes the distractor (Lag-minus-1). Neuroimaging and neuropsychology link preferential attendance towards emotional stimuli to the amygdala. Here, we asked whether the parietal lobe is also integral to directing attention to emotional images, by testing whether a simultanagnosic patient with bilateral parietal damage would exhibit an emotionally induced attentional blink. An RSVP stream of images was presented at a rate of 100-ms per item and contained an emotional distractor at either Lag 2 or Lag-minus-1. In contrast to controls, bilateral parietal damage was associated with an emotional AB (e.g. decreased target detection accuracy) only when the target preceded an emotional stimulus. However, when the presentation rate was slowed to 150 ms per item, the patient exhibited retroactive target-detection enhancement, similar to that found among control subjects. The combination of preserved retroactive effects but attenuated proactive effects suggest some specificity in the involvement of parietal areas with attention to emotional stimuli. These results highlight the involvement of parietal areas in attention to emotional stimuli and are consistent with reports that temporal attention (Husain et al, 1997; Duncan et al, 2003) as well as spatial attention is severely disrupted in patients with parietal damage.
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