We examined the relationship between two different attention limitations on the perception of rapid events: the attentional awakening (AA, an inability to successfully process a target when it appears early on in a rapid stream of events) and the attentional blink (AB, an inability to successfully process a second target when it appears shortly after a first target [T1]). In four experiments, we failed to find a relationship between the magnitudes of these phenomena. Furthermore, we found two manipulations that selectively modulated the magnitude of each effect without altering the magnitude of the second effect: Expected range of possible rapid serial visual presentation lengths modulated the AA (but not the AB), suggesting that the AA reflects an attentional setup cost for perceiving a protracted series of rapid events, whereas the number of possible T1 positions in the stream modulated the magnitude of the AB (but not the magnitude of the AA). Our results suggest that, despite the surface similarities between the two phenomena, different mechanisms are responsible for these two attentional limitations: Whereas the AA reflects a starting cost associated with the time required to temporally tune attention to the stimulus stream, the AB reflects a blocking of undesired stimuli, aimed at protecting consolidation of T1 processing.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Language and Linguistics
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Sensory Systems
- Linguistics and Language