An emotion-induced attentional blink elicited by aversively conditioned stimuli

  • Smith S
  • Most S
  • Newsome L
 et al. 
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The current study examines whether aversively conditioned stimuli can modulate attention to such a degree that they impair the perception of subsequently presented nonemotional targets. In the initial phase of this study, participants viewed 3 categories of photographs, 1 of which was paired with an aversive noise. Following conditioning, participants searched for a target embedded within a series of 17 rapidly presented images on each trial. Critically, a conditioned or unconditioned item from the initial phase appeared 200 ms or 800 ms before the target. At 200-ms lags but not 800-ms lags, the conditioned images impaired target detection relative to the other distractors. Thus, temporary visual deficits can be induced by otherwise neutral distractors whose aversive associations have only recently been learned.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Arousal
  • Attentional blink
  • Conditioning
  • Emotion
  • Emotion-induced blindness

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