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Feng Du, Kan Zhang; Visual Configuration affects spatial distribution of the attentional blink. Journal of Vision 2012;12(9):565. doi: 10.1167/12.9.565.
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A recent study found that attentional blink impaired performance on the second target (T2) with the effect being weakest at the first target (T1) location and locations far away from T1 (Du, Abrams & Zhang, 2011). This finding of a U-shaped spatial distribution of AB is consistent with lateral inhibition theory and in sharp contrast to many previous studies (Jefferies & Di Lollo, 2009; Kawahara, 2002; Olivers, 2004). Present study manipulated the spatial configuration of multiple RSVP streams to examine whether the U-shaped spatial distribution of AB in Du et al. study (2011) was due to a circular configuration of visual stimuli. In Experiment 1, we replicated a U-shaped spatial distribution of AB as Du et al. study when presenting six RSVP streams on an imaginary circle with a diameter of 15 degree (Please see Figure 1 in supplementary material for results). However, Experiment 2 found a similar U-shaped distribution of AB even when diameter of the imaginary circle shrunk to 10 degree (Please see Figure 2 for details), indicating the U-shaped distribution of AB was not determined by spatial distance between T1 & T2 per se. In Experiment 3, we managed to present four RSVP streams at four random locations while maintaining the eccentricity of two targets as that in Experiment 1. And we found that T2 performance decreased as the distance between T1 and T2 increased (As Figure 3 showed, the AB was weakest at T1 location and strongest at locations 15 degree away from T1) . Therefore a U-shaped distribution of AB in Du et al. study (2011) was due to the circular configuration of visual stimuli rather than spatial separation between T1 and T2. In conclusion, the configuration of visual stimuli affects the spatial distribution of AB.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2012
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