Masking T1 Difficulty: Processing Time and the Attentional Blink

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53 Citations (Scopus)


When observers are presented with 2 targets in rapid succession, identification of the 1st is highly accurate, whereas identification of the 2nd is impaired at brief intertarget intervals (i.e., 200-500 ms). This 2nd-target deficit is known as the attentional blink (AB). According to bottleneck models, the AB arises because attending to the 1st target delays allocation of attention to the 2nd target. Thus, these models predict that increasing 1st-target processing time will increase the magnitude of the AB. Previous tests of this prediction have yielded mixed results. The present work suggests that one factor contributing to this uncertainty is masking of the 1st target: When this mask is omitted, processing time and AB magnitude are reliably related. These findings clarify the role of 1st-target masking in the AB and support the validity of the bottleneck account.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)285-297
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2007
Externally publishedYes


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