Distractor inhibition predicts individual differences in the attentional blink

Dux, Paul E. and Marois, Rene (2008) Distractor inhibition predicts individual differences in the attentional blink. PLoS One, 3 10: e3330.1-e3330.4. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0003330


Author Dux, Paul E.
Marois, Rene
Title Distractor inhibition predicts individual differences in the attentional blink
Journal name PLoS One   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1932-6203
Publication date 2008
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0003330
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 3
Issue 10
Start page e3330.1
End page e3330.4
Total pages 4
Place of publication San Francisco, CA, United States
Publisher Public Library of Science
Language eng
Subject 17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
1701 Psychology
Formatted abstract
Background

The attentional blink (AB) refers to humans' impaired ability to detect the second of two targets (T2) in a rapid serial visual presentation (RSVP) stream of distractors if it appears within 200–600 ms of the first target (T1). Here we examined whether humans' ability to inhibit distractors in the RSVP stream is a key determinant of individual differences in T1 performance and AB magnitude.

Methodology/Principal Findings

We presented subjects with RSVP streams (93.3 ms/item) of letters containing white distractors, a red T1 and a green T2. Subjects' ability to suppress distractors was assessed by determining the extent to which their second target performance was primed by a preceding distractor that shared the same identity as T2. Individual subjects' magnitude of T2 priming from this distractor was found to be negatively correlated with their T1 accuracy and positively related to their AB magnitude. In particular, subjects with attenuated ABs showed negative priming (i.e., worse T2 performance when the priming distractor appeared in the RSVP stream compared to when it was absent), whereas those with large ABs displayed positive priming (i.e., better T2 performance when the priming distractor appeared in the RSVP stream compared to when it was absent). Thus, a subject's ability to suppress distractors, as assessed by T2 priming magnitude, predicted both their T1 performance and AB magnitude.
Conclusions/Significance

These results confirm that distractor suppression plays a key role in RSVP target selection and support the hypothesis that the AB results, at least in part, from a failure of distractor inhibition.
Keyword Recognition
Cognitive abilities
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Excellence in Research Australia (ERA) - Collection
School of Psychology Publications
 
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 32 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 38 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Tue, 22 Dec 2009, 15:26:00 EST by Therese Egan on behalf of Faculty of Social & Behavioural Sciences