Observers often miss the 2nd of 2 visual targets (first target [T1] and second target [T2]) when these targets are presented closely in time; the attentional blink (AB). The authors hypothesized that the AB occurs because the attentional response to T2 is delayed by T1 processing, causing T2 to lose a competition for attention to the item that follows it. The authors investigated this hypothesis by determining whether the AB is attenuated when T2 is precued. The results from 4 experiments showed that the duration and magnitude of the AB were substantially reduced when T2 was precued. The observed improvement in T2 report did not occur at the expense of T1 report, suggesting that processing of T1 was already completed or was at least protected when the cue was presented. The authors conclude that, during the AB, there is a delay between detection and the selection of target candidates for consolidation in short-term memory.
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