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Neural Correlates of the Attentional Blink - Marvin Chun's Visual ...

Neural Correlates of the Attentional Blink - Marvin Chun's Visual ...

Neural Correlates of the Attentional Blink - Marvin Chun's Visual

Neuron, Vol. 28, 299–308, October, 2000, Copyright ©2000 by Cell Press Neural Correlates of the Attentional Blink René Marois,* ‡ Marvin M. Chun,* and it improves monotonically with increasing lags of and John C. Gore † up to about 600–700 ms. The transient graded impairment *Vanderbilt Vision Research Center in perceiving the second target demonstrates that Department of Psychology attentional processing of the first target is a capacitylimited Vanderbilt University operation. Nashville, Tennessee 37240 While much imaging work has been devoted to understanding †Department of Diagnostic Radiology attentional mechanisms of orienting and en- Yale University School of Medicine hancement (Corbetta et al., 1993, 1995, 1998; Coull et New Haven, Connecticut 06520 al., 1996; Nobre et al., 1997; Coull and Nobre, 1998; Kastner et al., 1998, 1999; Kim et al., 1999; Wojciulik and Kanwisher, 1999), no previous study has investigated Summary the AB, which emphasizes the capacity-limited nature of attentional processing. In five experiments, we Attending to a visual event can lead to functional blindness use fMRI to identify the neural activity associated with for other events in the visual field. This limit in our the processing limitations that produce the AB deficit. attentional capacities is exemplified by the attentional Past psychophysical work has revealed two conditions blink (AB), which refers to the transient but severe necessary for the attentional blink. First, T1 must be impairment in perceiving the second of two temporally attended (Raymond et al., 1992; Duncan et al., 1994; neighboring targets. Using functional magnetic reso- Luck et al., 1996; Joseph et al., 1997). Second, distractor nance imaging (fMRI), we observed predominantly items, particularly ones that appear immediately after right intraparietal and frontal cortex activations asso- T1, must be present to interfere with the identification ciated with the AB. We further demonstrate that an AB of this target. Distractor interference increases the dura- can be elicited by both temporal and spatial distractor tion of attentional processing of T1, thereby amplifying interference on an attended target and that both of the processing bottleneck that prevents T2 from enter- these interference mechanisms activate the same ing awareness (Raymond et al., 1992; Chun and Potter, neural circuit. These results suggest that a (right) parietofrontal 1995; Moore et al., 1996; Grandison et al., 1997; Seiffert network previously implicated in atten- and Di Lollo, 1997; Jolicoeur, 1998; Breitmeyer et al., tional control and enhancement is also a locus of capacity-limited 1999). Our experiments will make use of this temporal processing of visual information. distractor interference effect to determine the neural correlates of the capacity-limited process underlying Introduction the AB. In addition, we will also determine whether spatial Visual scenes contain far more information than we can interference can induce an attentional blink. Although consciously perceive at any given instant. The informa- past work on the AB has focused on the role of temporal tion that does reach visual awareness is selected by interference, evidence from other paradigms suggests our attentional systems (Driver and Mattingley, 1998; that target identification is also severely affected by Treisman and Kanwisher, 1998). However, our attentional spatial interference from simultaneous, neighboring disman, capacities are limited (Broadbent, 1958; Kahne- tractors (Eriksen and Hoffman, 1972; Eriksen and Erik- 1973; Duncan, 1980). As a result, the cost of attentional sen, 1974; Miller, 1991). Thus, the presence of dis- selection to a visual stimulus can be functional tractors can interfere with, and in extreme cases may blindness to other unattended stimuli (Kanwisher, 1987; even prevent, target awareness, a phenomenon known Joseph et al., 1997; Rensink et al., 1997; Simons and as attentional crowding (Bouma, 1970; He et al., 1996). Levin, 1997; Mack and Rock, 1998). Such costs are especially We will test whether spatial interference produces an AB acute in the attentional blink paradigm, which re- and, if so, whether it utilizes the same neural substrates veals a severe but transient impairment in detecting engaged by the capacity-limited mechanisms associ- the second of two targets presented among a rapid ated with temporal interference. sequence of distractor items (Broadbent and Broadbent, 1987; Weichselgartner and Sperling, 1987; Ray- Results mond et al., 1992). The blink occurs when attentional mechanisms are consumed by the processing of the The attentional blink is caused by the processing defirst target (T1), leaving little attention available for the mands of T1 (Raymond et al., 1992; Duncan et al., 1994; next 500 ms or so to process the second target (T2) Chun and Potter, 1995; Ward et al., 1996; Jolicoeur, (Raymond et al., 1992; Duncan et al., 1994; Chun and 1998, 1999). T2 and the masking of T2 serve to probe Potter, 1995; Shapiro et al., 1997; Jolicoeur, 1998). De- the attentional limitations arising from the processing tection performance for the second target is poorest at of T1 (Chun and Potter, 1995; Giesbrecht and Di Lollo, short temporal lags of 200–300 ms between T1 and T2, 1998). Therefore, the identification of the associated neural correlates requires the isolation of T1, not T2, ‡ To whom correspondence should be addressed (e-mail: rene. processing. Moreover, given the poor temporal resolumarois@vanderbilt.edu). tion of fMRI, the variable hemodynamic response to T2

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