Kranczioch, Cornelia, Debener, Stefan and Engel, Andreas K.
Event-related potential correlates of the attentional blink phenomenon
Brain Research, 17, (1), . (doi:10.1016/S0926-6410(03)00092-2).
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The attentional blink phenomenon results from a transitory impairment of attention that can occur during rapid serial stimulus presentation. A previous study on the physiological correlates of the attentional blink employing event-related potentials (ERPs) suggested that the P3 ERP component for target items presented during this impairment is completely suppressed. This has been taken to indicate that the target-related information does not reach working memory. To reevaluate this hypothesis, we compared ERPs evoked by detected and missed targets in the attentional blink paradigm. Eighteen subjects performed a rapid serial visual presentation (RSVP) task in which either one target (control condition) or two targets had to be detected. ERPs elicited by the second target were analyzed separately for trials in which the target had been detected and missed, respectively. As predicted, detected targets did elicit a P3 during and after the attentional blink period. No clear P3 was found for detected targets presented before the attentional blink, that is, at lag 1. In contrast, missed targets generally did not evoke a P3. Our results provide evidence that targets presented during the attentional blink period can reach working memory. Thus, these findings contribute to evaluating theories of the attentional blink phenomenon.
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