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Dustin Engelhardt, Steven B. Most, Jason E. Reiss, James E. Hoffman, Matthew Doran, Lingling Wang; Intentional reduction of the attentional blink: The roles of motivation and attentional control. Journal of Vision 2009;9(8):158. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/9.8.158.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
The identification of the second of two targets (T1 and T2) in a rapid stream of items is often impaired when T2 is presented in close temporal proximity to T1 - a phenomenon known as the attentional blink (AB). Does the AB stem from ballistic allocation of attention to T1 or can observers purposefully redirect attention to T2? In the present study the AB was attenuated when participants were more highly motivated to identify T2 than T1. In one condition, participants received points equally for correct identifications of T1 and T2; in the other, they received points only for correct identification of T2, although they were asked on each trial whether they had incidentally identified T1. Participants were informed that the highest scoring participant would receive a prize. T2 appeared either as the first (lag 1), third (lag 3), fifth (lag 5), or seventh (lag 7) item after T1. Results revealed that when the incentive encouraged participants to prioritize T2, there was an overall reduction in the duration of the AB, even when analyses were limited to trials in which T1 had been reported correctly. In addition, with this incentive, participants who scored high in a self-report measure of attentional control were able to reduce the AB as early as lag 3, whereas those who scored low in self-reported attentional control were only able to do so at the later lags. These results suggest that rather than reflecting an entirely reflexive overcommitment of resources to T1, the AB can be reduced through combined motivation and attentional control.
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