Suppression of EEG gamma activity may cause the attentional blink

Conscious Cogn. 2002 Mar;11(1):114-22. doi: 10.1006/ccog.2001.0536.


The attentional blink (AB) is an impairment of attention, which occurs when subjects have to report a target stimulus (T2) following a previous target (T1) with a short delay (up to 600 ms). Theories explaining the AB assume that processing of T2 is more vulnerable to decay or substitution, as long as attention is allocated to T1. Existing models of the AB, however, do not account for the fact that T2 detection accuracy reaches the minimum when T2 is presented after about 300 ms and not immediately following T1. Therefore, a new model is suggested, which is based on chronometrical considerations together with recent neurophysiological findings concerning the relation between the P3 event-related potential and the AB, the interaction between P3 and gamma oscillations, and the significance of the early evoked gamma band response. We hypothesize that suppression of the early gamma response to T2, accompanying the P3 related to T1, causes the AB.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Attention / physiology*
  • Blinking*
  • Electroencephalography*
  • Evoked Potentials
  • Humans
  • Models, Neurological
  • Perceptual Masking*
  • Time Factors