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Overcoming the blink: the effect of training on the attentional blink

Damsma, A. (2014) Overcoming the blink: the effect of training on the attentional blink. Master's Thesis / Essay, Human-Machine Communication.

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One of the major topics in attention literature is the attentional blink (AB), which demonstrates a limited ability to identify the second of two targets (T1 and T2) when presented in close temporal succession (200-500 ms). Two decades of research have suggested that the AB is caused by structural limitations in target processing and is, as such, resistant to training. In contrast to this view, it was recently found that the AB was eliminated after just one hour of training with a color-salient T2 (Choi et al., 2012). However, the underlying mechanism of the training effect, as well as the AB itself, is as of yet still poorly understood. In the current thesis, we investigated the effect of training in two ways: First, we employed pupil dilation deconvolution to track any training-induced changes in the amount and onset of attentional processing of target stimuli. Second, we presented and tested a cognitive model, proposing that the training effect is caused by a shift in memory strategy. In addition to replicating the effect of the color-salient training, we found that training without a salient target, but with a consistent short inter-target interval was already sufficient to eliminate the AB. Pupil dilation revealed an earlier attentional allocation to T1 after training. The model was successful in explaining the training effect, as well as predicting the effect of a letter-mask training on the AB. We conclude that two complementary mechanisms play a role in overcoming the AB: temporal expectations and a switch in memory strategy. The results provide further evidence against limited-capacity theories of the AB.

Item Type: Thesis (Master's Thesis / Essay)
Supervisor name: Taatgen, N.A
Degree programme: Human-Machine Communication
Thesis type: Master's Thesis / Essay
Language: English
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2018 08:02
Last Modified: 02 May 2019 11:46

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