, Volume 14, Issue 6, pp 1051-1057

Working memory and the attentional blink: Blink size is predicted by individual differences in operation span

Abstract

The attentional blink (AB) is often attributed to resource limitations, but the nature of these resources is commonly underspecified. Recent observations rule out access to short-term memory or storage capacity as limiting factors, but operation bottlenecks are still an option. We considered the operation span of working memory (WM) as a possible factor and investigated the relationship between individual WM operation span (as measured by OSPAN), fluid intelligence (as measures by Raven’s SPM), and the size of the AB. WM operation span was negatively correlated with the AB, whereas fluid intelligence was associated with higher overall accuracy but not with AB magnitude. These results support the idea that individual processing limitations (with regard to either attentional allocation policies or the speed of global cortical integration processes) play a key role in the AB.