Psychonomic Bulletin & Review

, Volume 13, Issue 4, pp 600–607 | Cite as

Task-irrelevant visual motion and flicker attenuate the attentional blink

  • Isabel ArendEmail author
  • Stephen Johnston
  • Kimron Shapiro
Brief Reports


Our reduced ability to correctly report two sequentially presented targets is seen in the robust effect known as the attentional blink (AB; Raymond, Shapiro, & Arnell, 1992). One recent report (Olivers & Nieuwenhuis, 2005) strikingly reveals the AB to be virtually abolished when non-task-demanding music occurs in the background. The authors suggest that a diffuse attentional state is the mediating factor. Here, we seek to broaden the finding’s generality by determining if task-irrelevant visual motion and flicker also attenuate the AB. In our experiments, the AB task was presented together with a background field of moving dots that could moveaway from ortoward the central AB task, or flicker. In the control condition, the dots remained static. The AB was attenuated—though to different degrees—in all experimental conditions, but not in the static condition. Our findings add to the generality of the previous conclusions, and we emphasize an account based on the overallocation of attention.


Attentional Blink Motion Condition Visual Motion Rapid Serial Visual Presentation Target Task 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Isabel Arend
    • 1
    Email author
  • Stephen Johnston
    • 1
  • Kimron Shapiro
    • 1
  1. 1.Wolfson Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience, School of Psychology, Brigantia BuildingUniversity of WalesBangor Gwynedd

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