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PLoS One. 2013;8(4):e60623. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0060623. Epub 2013 Apr 2.

Attentional tuning resets after failures of perceptual awareness.

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  • 1School of Psychology, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, Queensland, Australia. paul.e.dux@gmail.com

Abstract

Key to successfully negotiating our environment is our ability to adapt to current settings based on recent experiences and behaviour. Response conflict paradigms (e.g., the Stroop task) have provided evidence for increases in executive control after errors, leading to slowed responses that are more likely to be correct, and less susceptible to response congruency effects. Here we investigate whether failures of perceptual awareness, rather than failures at decisional or response stages of information processing, lead to similar adjustments in visual attention. We employed an attentional blink task in which subjects often fail to consciously register the second of two targets embedded in a rapid serial visual presentation stream of distractors, and examined how target errors influence performance on subsequent trials. Performance was inferior after Target 2 errors and these inter-trial effects were independent of the temporal lag between the targets and were not due to more global changes in attention across runs of trials. These results shed light on the nature of attentional calibration in response to failures of perceptual consciousness.

PMID:
23565262
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3614964
Free PMC Article
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