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The duration of the attentional blink in natural scenes depends on stimulus category.

Einhäuser, Wolfgang and Koch, Christof and Makeig, Scott (2007) The duration of the attentional blink in natural scenes depends on stimulus category. Vision Research, 47 (5). pp. 597-607. ISSN 0042-6989. doi:10.1016/j.visres.2006.12.007.

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Humans comprehend the “gist” of even a complex natural scene within a small fraction of a second. If, however, observers are asked to detect targets in a sequence of rapidly presented items, recognition of a target succeeding another target by about a third of a second is severely impaired, the “attentional blink” (AB) [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, 849–860]. Since most experiments on the AB use well controlled but artificial stimuli, the question arises whether the same phenomenon occurs for complex, natural stimuli, and if so, whether its specifics depend on stimulus category. Here we presented rapid sequences of complex stimuli (photographs of objects, scenes and faces) and asked observers to detect and remember items of a specific category (either faces, watches, or both). We found a consistent AB for both target categories but the duration of the AB depended on the target category.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Koch, Christof0000-0001-6482-8067
Additional Information:Received 6 March 2006; received in revised form 26 November 2006. c2006 Elsevier Ltd. This work was financially supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation (WE: PBEZ2—107367; PA00A-111447), the National Institutes of Health USA, the National Science Foundation, and by DARPA/NGA.
Group:Koch Laboratory (KLAB)
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Swiss National Science FoundationWE,PBEZ2—107367
Swiss National Science FoundationWE, PA00A-111447
Subject Keywords:Attentional blink; RSVP; Natural scenes; Faces; Categorization
Issue or Number:5
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20130816-103346482
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Official Citation:Wolfgang Einhäuser, Christof Koch, Scott Makeig, The duration of the attentional blink in natural scenes depends on stimulus category, Vision Research, Volume 47, Issue 5, March 2007, Pages 597-607, ISSN 0042-6989, (
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:40646
Deposited By: KLAB Import
Deposited On:05 Feb 2008 09:57
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 00:07

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