Individual differences in dual-target RSVP task performance relate to entrainment but not to individual alpha frequency

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Abstract

© 2017 Cornelia Kranczioch. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. The attentional blink (AB) paradigm is widely used to study visual temporal attention. An important feature of the standard AB paradigm is repetitive visual stimulation, more precisely the rapid serial visual presentation (RSVP) of numerous distracters interspersed with two targets. The RSVP stream is likely to result in entrainment of visual cortex, which has been suggested to negatively affect target identification in the AB paradigm. The present EEG study tested this idea with an inter-individual differences approach. AB task performance and measures of entrainment were derived from 51 participants. Other than predicted, moderate positive correlations were observed for inter-trial coherence and performance, but only for targets not immediately preceded by other targets. A positive correlation with power was evident for targets presented in the critical AB time window. In a second step, it was tested whether the distance between individual alpha frequency and RSVP frequency mediated correlations with inter-trial coherence, as entrainment of the visual cortex through repetitive visual stimulation is particularly effective when the frequency of the stimulation matches the individual alpha frequency. However, no evidence was found supporting such link. While compatible with a number of findings related to the AB and to visual entrainment, the findings of the present study do not provide evidence for the notion that entrainment to the RSVP stream creates a neural environment unfavourable for detecting targets an RSVP stream.

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Kranczioch, C. (2017). Individual differences in dual-target RSVP task performance relate to entrainment but not to individual alpha frequency. PLoS ONE, 12(6). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0178934

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