Identification accuracy of the second of two targets (T2) is impaired when it is presented shortly after the first (T1). T1-based theories ascribe this attentional blink (AB) to a T1-initiated period of inattention. Distractor-based theories ascribe the AB to a disruption of input control caused by distractors trailing T1. The recent finding that an AB occurs in the absence of inter-target distractors seemingly disconfirms distractor-based theories. The principal goal of the present work was to explore the possibility that the blank inter-target interval itself may have disrupted attention, much like a distractor, thereby causing an AB. The intervening events between T1 and T2 were varied in four experiments (i.e., distractors, repeated T1, unexpected blanks, expected blanks). All produced an AB, disconfirming predictions from distractor-based theories, but lending strong support to the claim of T1-based theories that T1 processing alone is sufficient for the occurrence of the AB.
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