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ERIC Number: EJ932337
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Dec
Pages: 10
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 67
ISSN: ISSN-0096-1523
Surprise-Induced Blindness: A Stimulus-Driven Attentional Limit to Conscious Perception
Asplund, Christopher L.; Todd, J. Jay; Snyder, A. P.; Gilbert, Christopher M.; Marois, Rene
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, v36 n6 p1372-1381 Dec 2010
The cost of attending to a visual event can be the failure to consciously detect other events. This processing limitation is well illustrated by the attentional blink paradigm, in which searching for and attending to a target presented in a rapid serial visual presentation stream of distractors can impair one's ability to detect a second target presented soon thereafter. The attentional blink critically depends on "top-down" attentional settings, for it does not occur if participants are asked to ignore the first target. Here we show that "bottom-up" attention can also lead to a profound but ephemeral deficit in conscious perception: Presentation of a novel, unexpected, and task-irrelevant stimulus virtually abolishes conscious detection of a target presented within half a second after the "Surprise" stimulus, but only for its earliest occurrences (generally 1 to 2 presentations). This powerful but short-lived deficit contrasts with a milder but more enduring form of attentional capture that accompanies singleton presentations in rapid serial visual presentations. We conclude that the capture of stimulus-driven attention alone can limit explicit perception. (Contains 4 figures.)
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Tennessee