Four experiments tested whether repetition blindness (RB; reduced accuracy reporting repetitions of briefly displayed items) is a perceptual or a memory-recall phenomenon. RB was measured in rapid serial visual presentation (RSVP) streams, with the task altered to reduce memory demands. In Experiment 1 only the number of targets (1 vs. 2) was reported, eliminating the need to remember target identities. Experiment 2 segregated repeated and nonrepeated targets into separate blocks to reduce bias against repeated targets. Experiments 3 and 4 required immediate "online" buttonpress responses to targets as they occurred. All 4 experiments showed very strong RB. Furthermore, the online response data showed clearly that the 2nd of the repeated targets is the one missed. The present results show that in the RSVP paradigm, RB occurs online during initial stimulus encoding and decision making. The authors argue that RB is indeed a perceptual phenomenon.
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