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Timing the path to perception

Study shows how brain events in 'attentional blink' relate to consciousness

Ishani Ganguli(iganguli@the-scientist.com)

The sooner a person becomes conscious of an image, the more likely it is that a second image shown shortly thereafter will be seen, according to a study this week in Nature Neuroscience.

The research takes "new ideas about how consciousness might work in the brain and show[s] that it actually works" by "very closely link[ing]… behavior to brain activity at different points in time in the brain," James Enns at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, who did not participate in the study, told The Scientist.

The French research team used these methods to develop a complete cascade of brain events associated with attentional blink—the difficulty of perceiving the second of two targets presented within a half-second of the first. The paradigm addresses the mechanism of how much can enter your awareness, said Justin Feinstein at the University of Iowa, who did not participate...

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