Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience
If two centrally presented visual stimuli occur within approximately half a second of each other, the second target often fails to be reported correctly. This effect, called the attentional blink (AB; Raymond, J. E., Shapiro, K. L., & Arnell, K. M. Temporary suppression of visual processing in an RSVP task: An attentional blink? Journal of Experimental Psychology, Human Perception and Performance, 18, 849–860, 1992], has been attributed to a resource “bottleneck,” likely arising as a failure of attention during encoding into or retrieval from visual working memory (WM). Here we present participants with a hybrid WM–AB study while they undergo fMRI to provide insight into the neural underpinnings of this bottleneck. Consistent with a WM-based bottleneck account, fronto-parietal brain areas exhibited a WM load-dependent modulation of neural responses during the AB task. These results are consistent with the view that WM and attention share a capacity-limited resource and provide insight into the neural structures that underlie resource allocation in tasks requiring joint use of WM and attention.