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Lag-1 sparing in the attentional blink: benefits and costs of integrating two events into a single episode

Hommel, B. and Akyurek, E.G. (2005) Lag-1 sparing in the attentional blink: benefits and costs of integrating two events into a single episode. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology Section A: Human Experimental Psychology , 58 (8). pp. 1415-1433. ISSN 0272-4987

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1080/02724980443000647


When people monitor a visual stream of rapidly presented stimuli for two targets (T1 and T2), they often miss T2 if it falls into a time window of about half a second after T1 onset-the attentional blink. However, if T2 immediately follows T1, performance is often reported being as good as that at long lags-the so-called Lag-1 sparing effect. Two experiments investigated the mechanisms underlying this effect. Experiment 1 showed that, at Lag 1, requiring subjects to correctly report both identity and temporal order of targets produces relatively good performance on T2 but relatively bad performance on T1. Experiment 2 confirmed that subjects often confuse target order at short lags, especially if the two targets are equally easy to discriminate. Results suggest that, if two targets appear in close succession, they compete for attentional resources. If the two competitors are of unequal strength the stronger one is more likely to win and be reported at the expense of the other. If the two are equally strong, however, they will often be integrated into the same attentional episode and thus get both access to attentional resources. But this comes with a cost, as it eliminates information about the targets' temporal order.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences
ID Code:14005

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