Temporary suppression of visual processing in an RSVP task: an attentional blink?

J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform. 1992 Aug;18(3):849-60. doi: 10.1037//0096-1523.18.3.849.


Through rapid serial visual presentation (RSVP), we asked Ss to identify a partially specified letter (target) and then to detect the presence or absence of a fully specified letter (probe). Whereas targets are accurately identified, probes are poorly detected when they are presented during a 270-ms interval beginning 180 ms after the target. Probes presented immediately after the target or later in the RSVP stream are accurately detected. This temporary reduction in probe detection was not found in conditions in which a brief blank interval followed the target or Ss were not required to identify the target. The data suggest that the presentation of stimuli after the target but before target-identification processes are complete produces interference at a letter-recognition stage. This interference may cause the temporary suppression of visual attention mechanisms observed in the present study.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attention*
  • Blinking*
  • Discrimination Learning
  • Female
  • Fixation, Ocular*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Orientation
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual*
  • Psychophysics
  • Reaction Time
  • Saccades*