Erroneous selection of a non-target item improves subsequent target identification in rapid serial visual presentations

Yuki Yamada, Atsunori Ariga, Kayo Miura, Takahiro Kawabe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The second of two targets (T2) embedded in a rapid serial visual presentation (RSVP) is often missed even though the first (T1) is correctly reported (attentional blink). The rate of correct T2 identification is quite high, however, when T2 comes immediately after T1 (lag-1 sparing). This study investigated whether and how non-target items induce lag-1 sparing. One T1 and two T2s comprising letters were inserted in distractors comprising symbols in each of two synchronised RSVPs. A digit (dummy) was presented with T1 in another stream. Lag-1 sparing occurred even at the location where the dummy was present (Experiment 1). This distractor-induced sparing effect was also obtained even when a Japanese katakana character (Experiment 2) was used as the dummy. The sparing effect was, however, severely weakened when symbols (Experiment 3) and Hebrew letters (Experiment 4) served as the dummy. Our findings suggest a tentative hypothesis that attentional set for item nameability is meta-categorically created and adopted to the dummy only when the dummy is nameable.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-46
Number of pages12
JournalAdvances in Cognitive Psychology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Neuroscience
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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