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Shuma Tsurumi, So Kanazawa, Masami K Yamaguchi, Jun Kawahara; Attentional blink in preverbal infants. Journal of Vision 2019;19(10):108b. doi: 10.1167/19.10.108b.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Cognitive models of visual attention propose that the visual perception is based on two processing stages; all visual stimuli would be rapidly processed as representation in the first stage, and then the limited stimuli attention directed would be encoded and consolidated in working memory. Although this model emphasizing the involvement of working memory has been tested in adults and children, it is not clear whether these principles apply to perception in preverbal infants. Specifically, we focused on the attentional blink effect, in which identification of the second of two brief targets is impaired when inter-target lags are short, and addressed this question by examining whether the effect could be observed in infants. This phenomenon has been attributed to the processing delay in working memory. We reasoned that finding a similar pattern of the attentional blink in preverbal infants as found in adults would imply a hallmark of working memory functioning similarly to adults. In the present study, we presented 7- to 8- month-old infants rapid serial visual streams including two female faces as targets, and examined whether infants could identify these two targets. The temporal separations between the first and the second target were 200 and 800 ms for Lag 2 and Lag 8 conditions, respectively. We predicted that infants could identify the first target regardless of the Lag conditions. More importantly, would fail to identify the second target only under Lag 2 condition (i.e., the attentional blink) if their working memory functions as adults. As expected, we found attentional blink in infants. They could identify both targets in Lag 8 condition, whereas they failed to identify the second target only under the Lag 2 condition. These results suggest that working memory in 7-to 8- month-olds functions with the same temporal parameters as adults.
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