Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

2018 Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey S. Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan

Attentional Blink

  • Eric S. PorgesEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57111-9_9097


Attentional blink (AB) is a phenomenon primarily reported in the visual domain (Horváth and Burgyán 2011), in which attention to a primary target results in a reduced likelihood of identifying a secondary target presented a short duration after. The effect is most pronounced in a 200–600 ms window after the initial target is presented (Nieuwenstein et al. 2009). The classic paradigm involves the rapid serial visual presentation (RSVP) of letters, with a primary target letter and secondary target letter embedded within the RSVP. When the secondary target in the RSVP appears during the AB window, the likelihood of successful identification is dramatically reduced. If the secondary target is presented outside the 200–600 ms window, a deficit in identification does not occur. The initial reports of the AB reported that the effect depended on the inclusion of distractor letters in the RSVP (Raymond et al. 1992), though more recent reports have suggested that this may not be the...

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References and Readings

  1. Dux, P. E., & Marois, R. (2009). The attentional blink: A review of data and theory. Attention, Perception & Psychophysics, 71(8), 1683–1700.  https://doi.org/10.3758/APP.71.8.1683.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Horváth, J., & Burgyán, A. (2011). Distraction and the auditory attentional blink. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 73(3), 695–701.  https://doi.org/10.3758/s13414-010-0077-3.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Nieuwenstein, M. R., Potter, M. C., & Theeuwes, J. (2009). Unmasking the attentional blink. Journal of Experimental Psychology. Human Perception and Performance, 35(1), 159–169.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0096-1523.35.1.159.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  4. Raymond, J. E., Shapiro, K. L., & Arnell, K. M. (1992). Temporary suppression of visual processing in an RSVP task: an attentional blink? Journal of Experimental Psychology. Human Perception and Performance, 18(3), 849–860. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1500880.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Visser, T. A. W. (2007). Masking T1 difficulty: Processing time and the attentional blink. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 33(2), 285–297.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0096-1523.33.2.285.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Clinical and Health Psychology, University of FloridaGainesvilleUSA
  2. 2.Center for Cognitive Aging and Memory, McKnight Brain Institute, University of FloridaGainesvilleUSA
  3. 3.Department of Neurology, University of FloridaGainesvilleUSA