Attentional inhibition mediates inattentional blindness

Consciousness and Cognition 19 (2):636-643 (2010)
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Salient stimuli presented at unattended locations are not always perceived, a phenomenon termed inattentional blindness. We hypothesized that inattentional blindness may be mediated by attentional inhibition. It has been shown that attentional inhibition effects are maximal near an attended location. If our hypothesis is correct, inattentional blindness effects should similarly be maximal near an attended location. During central fixation, participants viewed rapidly presented colored digits at a peripheral location. An unexpected black circle was concurrently presented. Participants were instructed to maintain central fixation and name each color/digit, requiring focused attention to that location. For each participant, the critical stimulus was presented either near to or far from the attended location . In support of our hypothesis, inattentional blindness effects were maximal near the attended location, but only at intermediate task accuracy



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