Seeing the light: Adapting luminance reveals low-level visual processes in the attentional blink

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It is widely assumed that high-level visual processes subserve the attentional blink (AB). Recent evidence from studies of visual masking during the AB that were designed to directly test the contributions of high-level masking effects, however, have failed to provide empirical support for this position. The implication is that low-level visual processes are crucial to the AB. We tested this idea by manipulating adapting luminance in a standard AB paradigm. Consistent with the involvement of low-level neural mechanisms, the AB effect interacted with adapting luminance such that an AB was revealed only under photopic (light adapted) viewing conditions.

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