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On the blink: the importance of target-distractor similarity in eliciting an attentional blink with faces.

Müsch K, Engel AK, Schneider TR - PLoS ONE (2012)

Bottom Line: Experimental studies reported that the AB is reduced when the second target is emotionally significant, suggesting a modulation of attention allocation.An AB was present but not increased when the facial expression was irrelevant to the task suggesting that target-distractor similarity plays a more important role in eliciting an AB than the attentional set demanded by the specific task.In line with previous work, emotional faces were less affected by the AB.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Neurophysiology and Pathophysiology, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany. k.muesch@uke.uni-hamburg.de

ABSTRACT
Temporal allocation of attention is often investigated with a paradigm in which two relevant target items are presented in a rapid sequence of irrelevant distractors. The term Attentional Blink (AB) denotes a transient impairment of awareness for the second of these two target items when presented close in time. Experimental studies reported that the AB is reduced when the second target is emotionally significant, suggesting a modulation of attention allocation. The aim of the present study was to systematically investigate the influence of target-distractor similarity on AB magnitude for faces with emotional expressions under conditions of limited attention in a series of six rapid serial visual presentation experiments. The task on the first target was either to discriminate the gender of a neutral face (Experiments 1, 3-6) or an indoor/outdoor visual scene (Experiment 2). The task on the second target required either the detection of emotional expressions (Experiments 1-5) or the detection of a face (Experiment 6). The AB was minimal or absent when targets could be easily discriminated from each other. Three successive experiments revealed that insufficient masking and target-distractor similarity could account for the observed immunity of faces against the AB in the first two experiments. An AB was present but not increased when the facial expression was irrelevant to the task suggesting that target-distractor similarity plays a more important role in eliciting an AB than the attentional set demanded by the specific task. In line with previous work, emotional faces were less affected by the AB.

Show MeSH
Mean accuracy for T1 and T2 in Experiment 2.Performance is depicted separately for the different facial expressions of T2. T2 detection is conditional on T1 performance. Error bars represent standard errors of the means. Abbreviations: T1, first target; T2, second target; SOA, stimulus onset asynchrony.
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pone-0041257-g003: Mean accuracy for T1 and T2 in Experiment 2.Performance is depicted separately for the different facial expressions of T2. T2 detection is conditional on T1 performance. Error bars represent standard errors of the means. Abbreviations: T1, first target; T2, second target; SOA, stimulus onset asynchrony.

Mentions: T1 performance and T2 performance were separately subjected to a 7 (lag) x 3 (emotion) within-subjects ANOVA. There were no significant effects on T1 performance and on T2 performance (Table 1, Table 2, Figure 3). As in the previous experiments, the percentage of false alarms was low (M ± SD = 2.2±4.2).


On the blink: the importance of target-distractor similarity in eliciting an attentional blink with faces.

Müsch K, Engel AK, Schneider TR - PLoS ONE (2012)

Mean accuracy for T1 and T2 in Experiment 2.Performance is depicted separately for the different facial expressions of T2. T2 detection is conditional on T1 performance. Error bars represent standard errors of the means. Abbreviations: T1, first target; T2, second target; SOA, stimulus onset asynchrony.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3399797&req=5

pone-0041257-g003: Mean accuracy for T1 and T2 in Experiment 2.Performance is depicted separately for the different facial expressions of T2. T2 detection is conditional on T1 performance. Error bars represent standard errors of the means. Abbreviations: T1, first target; T2, second target; SOA, stimulus onset asynchrony.
Mentions: T1 performance and T2 performance were separately subjected to a 7 (lag) x 3 (emotion) within-subjects ANOVA. There were no significant effects on T1 performance and on T2 performance (Table 1, Table 2, Figure 3). As in the previous experiments, the percentage of false alarms was low (M ± SD = 2.2±4.2).

Bottom Line: Experimental studies reported that the AB is reduced when the second target is emotionally significant, suggesting a modulation of attention allocation.An AB was present but not increased when the facial expression was irrelevant to the task suggesting that target-distractor similarity plays a more important role in eliciting an AB than the attentional set demanded by the specific task.In line with previous work, emotional faces were less affected by the AB.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Neurophysiology and Pathophysiology, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany. k.muesch@uke.uni-hamburg.de

ABSTRACT
Temporal allocation of attention is often investigated with a paradigm in which two relevant target items are presented in a rapid sequence of irrelevant distractors. The term Attentional Blink (AB) denotes a transient impairment of awareness for the second of these two target items when presented close in time. Experimental studies reported that the AB is reduced when the second target is emotionally significant, suggesting a modulation of attention allocation. The aim of the present study was to systematically investigate the influence of target-distractor similarity on AB magnitude for faces with emotional expressions under conditions of limited attention in a series of six rapid serial visual presentation experiments. The task on the first target was either to discriminate the gender of a neutral face (Experiments 1, 3-6) or an indoor/outdoor visual scene (Experiment 2). The task on the second target required either the detection of emotional expressions (Experiments 1-5) or the detection of a face (Experiment 6). The AB was minimal or absent when targets could be easily discriminated from each other. Three successive experiments revealed that insufficient masking and target-distractor similarity could account for the observed immunity of faces against the AB in the first two experiments. An AB was present but not increased when the facial expression was irrelevant to the task suggesting that target-distractor similarity plays a more important role in eliciting an AB than the attentional set demanded by the specific task. In line with previous work, emotional faces were less affected by the AB.

Show MeSH