How the brain blinks: towards a neurocognitive model of the attentional blink

Bernhard Hommel, Klaus Kessler, Frank Schmitz, Joachim Gross, Elkan Akyürek, Kimron Shapiro, Alfons Schnitzler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


When people monitor a visual stream of rapidly presented stimuli for two targets (T1 and T2), they often miss T2 if it falls into a time window of about half a second after T1 onset—the attentional blink (AB). We provide an overview of recent neuroscientific studies
devoted to analyze the neural processes underlying the AB and their temporal dynamics. The available evidence points to an attentional network involving temporal, right-parietal and frontal cortex, and suggests that the components of this neural network interact by means of synchronization and stimulus-induced desynchronization in the beta frequency range. We set up a neurocognitive scenario describing how the AB might emerge and why it depends on the presence of masks and the other event(s) the targets are embedded in. The scenario supports the idea that the AB arises from ‘‘biased competition’’, with the top–down bias being generated by parietal–frontal interactions and the competition taking place between stimulus codes in temporal cortex.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)425-435
Number of pages11
JournalPsychological Research
Issue number6
Early online date20 Oct 2005
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2006


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