• The development of attentional Skill in a rapid serial visual presentation task: effects of extended practice on the ‘attentional blink’

      Simmons, Greg (2013-02-18)
      The selection of information through visual attention can be based on the time course of events as well as on the spatial location where information is presented. The attentional blink (AB) phenomenon reflects a limitation in selecting information based on time. This phenomenon is observed with a rapid serial visual presentation (RSVP) where the ability to accurately identify a second target (T2) is reduced when it follows 200 – 500 ms after the first target (T1). The goal of this study was to examine whether this deficit in identifying objects in time would be reduced through practice. This question was addressed by having young adults practice an RSVP task one hour a day for three consecutive days. The major result was that the magnitude and duration of the AB deficit and the proportion of errors in reporting the order of the two targets decreased substantially with practice. These results support theories of AB which assume the phenomenon is an outcome of cognitive control processes that are malleable. The results are not congruent with theories of AB based on fixed capacity limitations.