Alpha, beta: The rhythm of the attentional blink

Kimron L. Shapiro, Simon Hanslmayr, James T. Enns, Alejandro Lleras

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Extant theories of the attentional blink propose that the most critical factor in determining second target accuracy is the time that elapses between the first and second targets. We report that this conclusion has overlooked an equally important determinant, namely, the frequency of the entraining stream in which these targets are embedded. Specifically, we show in two experiments that the signature of the attentional blink—second target accuracy that increases with intertarget lag—is significantly larger for entraining streams that are in the alpha-beta frequency range, relative to streams that are slower (theta) or faster (gamma). This finding ties the attentional blink critically, for the first time, to these two prominent oscillation frequencies that are known to be involved in the control of human attention and consciousness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1862-1869
Number of pages8
JournalPsychonomic Bulletin and Review
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017


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