When two masked, to‐be‐attended targets are presented within half a second of each other, report accuracy for the second target
(T2) is impaired relative to when the two targets are presented farther apart in time or relative to when the first target
(T1) can be ignored. This effect is known as the attentional blink (AB). An additional T2 accuracy deficit is observed if
T1 and T2 are identical or highly similar on a task‐relevant dimension. This effect is known as repetition blindness (RB).
For both AB and RB, targets are typically imbedded in rapid serial visual presentation (RSVP) streams and the dual‐task attention
cost lasts approximately half a second. Given the high degree of superficial similarity, AB and RB are often considered to
be related phenomena. Although research thus far has suggested that both phenomena reflect limits of the attentional system
and how attention is allocated when needing to organize stimuli for entrance into awareness, these two phenomena are dissociable;
RB is not simply an enhanced AB. Furthermore, investigations of AB and RB have taken quite different courses over the last
two decades. The AB has been investigated extensively with a variety of experimental, behavioral, neurophysiological, and
clinical approaches, and has become widely used as a paradigm of convenience with which to study other effects. In contrast,
studies of RB have tended to manipulate the nature of the target information to understand the level of representation that
supports RB. WIREs Cogni Sci 2011 2 336–344 DOI: 10.1002/wcs.129
Panel ‘a’ depicts an RSVP stream where T1 is the lone white letter and T2 is the letter ‘X’. In this example T2 is present in lag 3. At the end of the stream, participants are asked to report the identity of the white letter and whether the X was present or absent. Panel ‘b’ shows a prototypical pattern of T2 accuracy for the tasks depicted in Figure 1a.
Panel ‘(a)’ shows a typical rapid serial visual presentation (RSVP) sentence stream without a repetition (on the left) and one with a repetition at lag 3 (on the right). C1 denotes the first critical target and C2 the second critical target. Panel ‘(b)’ shows the percentage of trials on which C1 or C2 was reported correctly. Means are from experiment 2 of Kanwisher.2
Dr. Stan Klein’s research revolves around understanding self, memory, and consciousness. Klein argues that the unitary self of everyday experience actually is a multiplicity. For example, within memory, there are various, functionally independent systems of self-knowledge, including semantic personal facts, abstract trait self-knowledge, and episodic narratives. Another aspect of self is its subjectivity. This form of consciousness interacts with the neurally-based aspects of self to produce the human experience of self.
Dr. Klein believes that we need to move beyond studying memory content and focus on how that content is presented to awareness. He argues that it is the manner in which content is apprehended by awareness that determines whether we experience content as episodic or semantic.