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2011 | 7 | 92-107

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Good vibrations, bad vibrations: Oscillatory brain activity in the attentional blink

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The attentional blink(AB) is a deficit in reporting the second (T2) of two targets (T1, T2) when presented in close temporal succession and within a stream of distractor stimuli. The AB has received a great deal of attention in the past two decades because it allows to study the mechanisms that influence the rate and depth of information processing in various setups and therefore provides an elegant way to study correlates of conscious perception in supra-threshold stimuli. Recently evidence has accumulated suggesting that oscillatory signals play a significant role in temporally coordinating information between brain areas. This review focuses on studies looking into oscillatory brain activity in the AB. The results of these studies indicate that the AB is related to modulations in oscillatory brain activity in the theta, alpha, beta, and gamma frequency bands. These modulations are sometimes restricted to a circumscribed brain area but more frequently include several brain regions. They occur before targets are presented as well as after the presentation of the targets. We will argue that the complexity of the findings supports the idea that the AB is not the result of a processing impairment in one particular process or brain area, but the consequence of a dynamic interplay between several processes and/or parts of a neural network.






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  • Neuropsychology Lab, Department of Psychology, Carl von Ossietzky University, Oldenburg, Germany


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