Modulation of the attentional blink by differential resource allocation.
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When one masked target (T2) follows another (T1) in close temporal proximity, identification accuracy of the second target is reduced for a period referred to as the attentional blink. Analysis of the attentional blink literature suggests that increasing the difficulty of T1 processing increases the magnitude of the blink. In a previous study that eliminated several untoward features of the typical attentional blink design (e.g., task switching, location switching, and stream contribution), we found no effect on blink magnitude when three levels of T1 difficulty (manipulated in a data-limited manner) were randomly intermixed. Here, when we repeated the previous study using a blocked manipulation of T1 difficulty, which is characteristic of the literature, a significant positive relation between T1 difficulty and blink magnitude was found. Resource allocation put in place to encode T1 in advance of a dual-target trial thus seems to be the critical factor in mediating this relation.
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