Different Attentional Blink Tasks Reflect Distinct Information Processing Limitations: An Individual Differences Approach

Ashleigh Kelly (2010). Different Attentional Blink Tasks Reflect Distinct Information Processing Limitations: An Individual Differences Approach Honours Thesis, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

       
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Author Ashleigh Kelly
Thesis Title Different Attentional Blink Tasks Reflect Distinct Information Processing Limitations: An Individual Differences Approach
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2010
Thesis type Honours Thesis
Supervisor Paul Dux
Total pages 95
Abstract/Summary Due to our limited attentional resources, in a given instance, we are only aware of a fraction of the information available in our complex visual environment. In the laboratory, such capacity limitations are reflected in the Attentional Blink (AB) task: Participant‟s inability to report the second target (T2) in a rapid serial visual presentation (RSVP) stream of distractors if it occurs within 200-500ms of the first target (T1). Over the last two decades this phenomenon has undergone intense investigation. A variety of different paradigms have been employed to examine the AB, all yielding similar T2|T1 accuracy time courses. Consequently, it has been assumed that these different tasks tap the same cognitive mechanisms, however to date this has not been tested. This thesis examined whether three prominent AB tasks: categorical (targets defined by alpha numeric category e.g., letters amongst digits), featural (targets defined by colour) and probe (T1 defined by colour, T2 by identity) paradigms reflect the same cognitive limitation. Using an individual differences approach, where 40 participants undertook 2 runs of each AB task it was observed that while there was high test-retest reliability for each paradigm, only AB magnitude for the featural and categorical tasks were correlated. Thus, it appears that categorical and featural AB tasks reflect distinct limitations relative to the probe paradigm. The results have important implications for theories of temporal attention as it appears there may be distinct information processing bottlenecks at the level of selection.

 
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Created: Tue, 05 Apr 2011, 11:28:10 EST by Lucy O'Brien on behalf of School of Psychology