Attentional and perceptual factors affecting the attentional blink for faces and objects

Ayelet N. Landau, Shlomo Bentin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


When 2 different visual targets presented among different distracters in a rapid serial visual presentation (RSVP) are separated by 400 ms or less, detection and identification of the 2nd targets are reduced relative to longer time intervals. This phenomenon, termed the attentional blink (AB), is attributed to the temporary engagement of a limited-capacity attentional system by the 1st target, which reduces resources available for processing the 2nd target. Although AB has been reliably obtained with many stimulus types, it has not been found for faces (E. Awh et al., 2004). In the present study, the authors investigate the underpinnings of this immunity. Unveiling circumstances in which AB occurs within and across faces and other categories, the authors demonstrate that a multichannel model cannot account for the absence of AB effects on faces. The authors suggest instead that perceptual salience of the face within the distracters' series as well as the available resources determine whether or not faces are blinked in RSVP.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)818-830
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2008


  • Attention resources
  • Attentional blink
  • Face perception
  • Repetition blindness


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