Right hemisphere involvement in the attentional blink: Evidence from a split-brain patient

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When two masked targets are presented in a rapid sequence, correct identification of the first hinders identification of the second. This attentional blink (AB) is thought to be the result of capacity limitations in visual information processing. Neuropsychological and neuroimaging evidence implicated the right hemisphere as the source of this processing limitation. We investigated this idea by testing a split-brain patient (JW) in a modified AB task. The targets were presented in the same visual field (VF), and thereby to the same hemisphere, or in different VFs. We observed evidence of an AB both when the targets were presented to the same hemisphere and when the targets were presented to different hemispheres. However, the AB was more severe when the second target was presented to the RH. Our results are consistent with the notion that the right hemisphere plays a critical, but not unique, role in limited-capacity visual processing.

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