The role of the locus coeruleus in mediating the attentional blink: A neurocomputational theory.

S.T. Nieuwenhuis, M.S. Gilzenrat, B.D. Holmes, J.D. Cohen

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Abstract

The attentional blink refers to the transient impairment in perceiving the 2nd of 2 targets presented in close temporal proximity. In this article, the authors propose a neurobiological mechanism for this effect. The authors extend a recently developed computational model of the potentiating influence of the locus coeruleus-norepinephrine system on information processing and hypothesize that a refractoriness in the function of this system may account for the attentional blink. The model accurately simulates the time course of the attentional blink, including Lag 1 sparing. The theory also offers an account of the close relationship of the attentional blink to the electrophysiological P3 component. The authors report results from two behavioral experiments that support a critical prediction of their theory regarding the time course of Lag 1 sparing. Finally, the relationship between the authors' neurocomputational theory and existing cognitive theories of the attentional blink is discussed. Copyright 2005 by the American Psychological Association.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)291-307
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: General
Volume134
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2005

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