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The attentional blink is immune to masking-induced data limits

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The attentional blink is the robust finding that processing a masked item (T1) hinders the subsequent identification of a backwards masked second item (T2), which follows soon after the first one. There has been some debate about the theoretically important relation between the difficulty of T1 processing and the ensuing blink. In Experiment 1 we manipulated the difficulty of T1 in such a way as to affect the quality of data without altering the amount of resources allocated to its identification. We found no relation between the accuracy of T1 identification and the blink. In Experiment 2, the same difficulty manipulation was applied to T2, and we observed an additive pattern with the blink. Together, this pattern of results indicates that a data-limited difficulty manipulation does not affect the blink, whether applied to T1 or T2. In Experiment 3 we used an individual differences methodology to show that performance in the traditional ''stream''-like presentation (rapid serial visual presentation) was highly correlated with performance in our modified ''target mask, target mask'' paradigm, thus allowing for comparisons beyond the present methodology to much of the previous literature that has used the stream paradigm.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02724980042000075

Affiliations: Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada

Publication date: February 1, 2001

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