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J Exp Psychol Gen. 2005 May;134(2):258-81.

Affective influences on the attentional dynamics supporting awareness.

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Department of Psychology, University of Toronto, ON, Canada.


Identification of a 1st target stimulus in a rapid serial visual presentation sequence leads to transient impairment in report for a 2nd target; this is known as the attentional blink (AB). This AB impairment was substantially alleviated for emotionally significant target words. AB sparing was not attributable to a variety of nonaffective stimulus factors that could result in augmented distinctiveness. Arousal value, not the valence of stimulus events, was found to be responsible for AB sparing. These results suggest that arousal is associated with decreased attentional prerequisites for awareness, enabling emotional significance to shape perceptual experience.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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