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Michal de Vries - The attentional blink in different modalities: a neuroscientific and computational approach

17 May 2011


When a sequence of visual stimuli with targets and distractors is presented in rapid succession on a screen, a participant often fails to detect a second target if it is presented between 200-500 ms after the first one. This phenomenon is called the attentional blink (AB). In this project the focus is on different modalities by studying the visual and auditory AB. First, a behavioral and an EEG-study were conducted. The results of these experiments imply that the AB is a modal-specific system. A visual blinker does not necessarily have to be an auditory blinker and vice versa. Moreover, an AB only occurs within a modality, but not across modalities (e.g. target one is visual, target two is auditory). Further evidence for a modal-specific system comes from the EEG-study which revealed that the latency of the P3-component for the second visual target was slower in the within-modality condition compared to that in the cross-modal condition. Second, a computational model of the AB, based on the Threaded Cognition model, was implemented. It is argued that this model is a worthy alternative to other formal models with an interesting explanation: the AB is caused by an overexertion of control.

Last modified:13 June 2019 1.40 p.m.

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