Explain how the attentional blink relates to attention

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Assignment 2: Attentional Blink

There are many stimuli in your environment of which you are not aware. You use attention to filter out unimportant stimuli and focus on relevant stimuli. However, there are circumstances under which you cannot perceive stimuli, regardless of how hard you "pay attention." One situation is when visual stimuli are presented in quick succession. If the interval between the two stimuli is short enough, you do not perceive the second stimulus. This lapse in attention is known as attentional blink. In this assignment, you will experience the attentional blink for yourself and will also read about practical implications of the phenomenon.

Access the CogLab demonstrationAttentional Blink. Follow the instructions to complete the demonstration.

Read the following article:

Using the experience from the CogLab demonstration and information from the article, write a paper that addresses the following:

  • Explain how the attentional blink relates to attention. Analyze how the variation in time influences the probability of seeing the second target letter. Explain the circumstances under which the attentional blink can be eliminated.
  • In the CogLab demonstration, letters were used as targets. The target used can influence the duration of one’s attentional blink and whether the attentional blink even occurs. Complete the following tasks:
    • Propose at least two other targets that could be used to induce the attentional blink.
    • Predict the effect each of your suggested targets would have on the duration of one’s attentional blink as compared to the CogLab activity you completed.
    • Explain the reasoning behind your predictions.
  • Present and discuss at least three occupations in which workers’ performance could be adversely affected by attentional blink. Identify and explain the types of problems or mistakes that might occur in such occupations due to the attentional blink.
  • Several years ago, some vehicle models came with a heads-up display (HUD). Instead of looking down at a panel on the dashboard, speed, distance traveled, fuel level, and time appeared to be displayed over the hood of the car. Discuss this design in terms of divided attention and attentional blink. Do you think the design was a good idea?

Write a 4-page paper in Word format. Apply APA standards to citation of sources. 

Assignment 2 Grading Criteria

Maximum Points

Explained the phenomenon of attention, described how time between targets affects the probability of seeing the second target, and analyzed how it can be eliminated or reduced in other conditions showing understanding and application of cognitive psychology concepts.


Applied knowledge of cognitive psychology concepts to propose other targets appropriate for experiment, predict their effects on attentional blink, and provide an explanation for predictions showing understanding and application of cognitive psychology concepts.


Identified three occupations that could adversely be affected by attentional blink and explained the types of problems or mistakes that might occur in such occupations due to attentional blink showing understanding and application of cognitive psychology concepts.


Related the concepts of divided attention and attentional blink to explain the heads-up display (HUD) design.


Wrote in a clear, concise, and organized manner; demonstrated ethical scholarship in accurate representation and attribution of sources; displayed accurate spelling, grammar, and punctuation.




Tutor Answer

School: University of Virginia

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Attentional Blink
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Question One: How Attentional Blink Relates To Attention
Attention blink is a situation where a person’s mind exhibits a gap between two
phenomena in which the mind tries to concentrate on both aspects hence loosing on one or
entirely all. This is so because human minds are limited to one task at a time and cannot
completely multi-task or keep a full concentration on multiple tasks happening concurrently
(Pashler, 2001). The same situation happens with attention, for the human brain to keep a track
on the certain situation, it has to focus and concentrate on one aspect. Any other distractor that
may happen shifts the attention of a person hence creating attentional blink. Both attention and
attention blink are affected by stimuli and mental events.
Question Two: Analysis on How Variation in Time Influences Probability of Seeing The
Second Target Letter
Much attention is given to the first letter hence more time is spend on dealing with
the first letter making the probability of seeing the second letter minimal. The shift from the first
letter to the second letter creates an attentional blink where the mind only focuses on the first
letter. From the experiment the observer has to view many letters, this will limit the time period
in which he has to change from one letter to the other (McHugo & Neurosci, 2013)
Question Three: Circumstances under Which Attentional Blink Can Be Eliminated
Attentional blink can be eliminated by the attentional change. When the mind
experiences a change in the attention it will only focus on the issue and hand hence avoiding

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