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Daniel Loach, Alexandra Frischen; Investigating an inhibitory account of the attentional blink. Journal of Vision 2007;7(9):675. doi: 10.1167/7.9.675.
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The attentional blink refers to a performance decrement in correctly detecting or identifying the second of two targets, if those targets (T1 and T2) are presented within approximately 500 milliseconds of one another. Di Lollo, Kawahara, Ghorashi and Enns (2005) demonstrated that the atttentional blink is contingent upon the presence of a distractor stimulus presented between T1 and T2. When T1 and T2 were separated by another target, the AB was extinguished. They have argued that the distractor causes disruption to the attentional set and the concomitant failure to fully encode T2. On the contrary, Loach and Marí;-Beffa (2003) have suggested that T2 is encoded but is subsequently inhibited as part of a temporal binding strategy. They showed that post-target distractors in an RSVP stream are inhibited such that they negatively prime a related probe. In this context, it could be argued that the presence of the distractor in Di Lollo et al.'s study is what initiates this inhibition. When there is no distractor, there is no danger of selecting the wrong stimulus and thus, no need to inhibit anything. Here, we examine this notion in a hybrid AB-negative priming paradigm where we manipulate whether T1 and T2 are separated by a distractor or another target.
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