The present report reviews behavioural, electroencephalographic, and especially magnetoencephalographic findings on the cortical mechanisms underlying attentional processes that separate targets from distractors and that ensure durable target representations for goal-directed action. A common way of investigation is to observe the system’s overt and covert behaviour when capacity limitations are reached. Here we focus on the aspect of temporally enhanced processing load, namely on performance deficits occurring under rapid-serial-visual-presentation (RSVP) conditions. The most prominent of these deficits is the so-called “attentional blink” (AB) effect. We first report MEG findings with respect to the time course of activation that shows modulations around 300 ms after target onset which reflect demands and success of target consolidation. Then, findings regarding long-range inter-area phase synchronization are reported that are hypothesized to mediate communication within the attentional network. Changes in synchronization reflect changes in the attentional demands of the task and are directly related to behavioural performance. Furthermore, enhanced vigilance of the system elicits systematically increased synchronization indices. A hypothetical framework is sketched out that aims at explaining limitations in multiple target consolidation under RSVP conditions.
- anttentional blink
- selective visual attention
- oscillatory activity
- working memory
Kessler, K., Gross, J., Schmitz, F., & Schnitzler, A. (2006). Cortical dynamics and synchronization related to multiple target consolidation under rapid-serial-visual-presentation conditions. Journal of Physiology - Paris, 99(1), 21-28. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jphysparis.2005.06.004