A quick mind with letters can be a slow mind with natural scenes: Individual differences in attentional selection

Sander Martens, Mathijs Dun, Brad Wyble, Mary C. Potter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Most people show a remarkable deficit in reporting the second of two targets (T2) when presented 200- 500 ms after the first (T1), reflecting an 'attentional blink' (AB). However, there are large individual differences in the magnitude of the effect, with some people, referred to as 'non-blinkers', showing no such attentional restrictions. Methodology/Principal Findings: Here we replicate these individual differences in a task requiring identification of two letters amongst digits, and show that the observed differences in T2 performance cannot be attributed to individual differences in T1 performance. In a second experiment, the generality of the non-blinkers' superior performance was tested using a task containing novel pictures rather than alphanumeric stimuli. A substantial AB was obtained in non-blinkers that was equivalent to that of 'blinkers'. Conclusion/Significance: The results suggest that non-blinkers employ an efficient target selection strategy that relies on well-learned alphabetic and numeric category sets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere13562
JournalPloS one
Volume5
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

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