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Peijun Yuan, Ying Wang, Yi Jiang; Reconstructing temporal organization of visual attention reduces attentional blink. Journal of Vision 2014;14(10):340. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/14.10.340.
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In this ever-changing world, large portions of the information we receive and attend to are operating in time with a rhythmic pattern (e.g., music and biological motion). However, little is known about whether such rhythmic information can influence the deployment of temporal attention. Here we provide evidence that entrainment to metrical tones played in the background can reconstruct the temporal deployment of visual attention in an organized manner. We took advantage of the attentional blink (AB) phenomenon, which is characterized by an impairment of visual attention in detecting a second target temporally proximate to the first one in a rapid sequence of visual stimuli. We found that the AB effect was significantly reduced when the two targets appeared in adjacent, rather than in the same, temporal structures defined by the periodic alternation of high- and low-pitch tones, suggesting that visual selective attention can be recomposed by irrelevant rhythmic information even from an unattended sensory modality. Consistent with this temporal organization assumption, disrupting the rhythmic auditory structures completely abolished the effect. Rather than accentuating the salience of individual events at specific temporal positions, our findings indicate that the AB effect can be modulated by the dynamic organization of sensory inputs. More importantly, we highlight the role of neural entrainment in reconstructing the temporal organization of attention.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2014
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