Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience
A well-established phenomenon in the study of attention is the attentional blink—a deficit in reporting the second of two targets when it occurs 200–500 msec after the first. Although the effect has been shown to be robust in a variety of task conditions, not every individual participant shows the effect. We measured electroencephalographic activity for “nonblinkers” and “blinkers” during execution of a task in which two letters had to be detected in an sequential stream of digit distractors. Nonblinkers showed an earlier P3 peak, suggesting that they are quicker to consolidate information than are blinkers. Differences in frontal selection positivity were also found, such that nonblinkers showed a larger difference between target and distractor activation than did blinkers. Nonblinkers seem to extract target information better than blinkers do, allowing them to reject distractors more easily and leaving sufficient resources available to report both targets.