Capturing attention when attention "blinks"
Four experiments addressed the question of whether attention may be captured when the visual system is in the midst of an attentional blink (AB). Participants identified 2 target letters embedded among distractor letters in a rapid serial visual presentation sequence. In some trials, a square frame was inserted between the targets; as the only geometric object in the sequence, it constituted a singleton. Capture effects obtained when the AB was most severe and when it was over were compared. There were 3 main results. First, capture occurred even when the AB was crippling, suggesting that a singleton exogenously engaged attention even when processing of a previous target was continuing apace. Second, when the singleton contained the key target feature, capture effects were clearly manifest. Third, even when the singleton did not possess the key target feature, it still succeeded in capturing attention, although the effects were both feeble and fleeting.
Experimental Analysis of Behavior | Psychology
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
American Psychological Association
WEE, Serena, & CHUA, Fook Kee.(2004). Capturing attention when attention "blinks". Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 30(3), 598-612.
Available at: http://ink.library.smu.edu.sg/soss_research/2036