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The attentional blink has been attributed to capacity limitations at a central level of processing. We tested whether failure to identify the target would eliminate the blink. Two agnostic patients were presented with streams of letters, which they were able to identify, and streams of pictures, which they were unable to identify. The dual-task involved identification of a target and detection of a probe. With letters the duration of the blink was equivalent to that of the control subjects. A prolonged blink was observed in both patients for pictures irrespective of whether the target was identified. This result indicates that failure to identify the target does nevertheless mobilize attentional resources sufficiently to prevent detection of a second target stimulus.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





2775 - 2780


Aged, Agnosia, Attention, Blinking, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Pattern Recognition, Visual, Reference Values, Signal Detection, Psychological, Time Factors