Attentional blink and prepulse inhibition of startle are positively correlated

Brian R. Cornwell*, Aileen M. Echiverri, Christian Grillon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Although a link between the attentional blink and prepulse startle inhibition has been considered, no evidence of this relationship has been reported. We delivered acoustic startle probes during rapid serial visual presentations in which the relative positions of two targets (targets 1 and 2) was varied within a stream of distractors. Startle probes were presented at 100 ms lead intervals relative to onset of a target or distractor. We found positive correlations between visual prepulse inhibition and attentional blink effects across participants. As the magnitude of prepulse inhibition with target and distractor lead stimuli increased, deficits in identifying target 2 during the attentional blink increased, suggesting similar processes underlying these phenomena. Whereas prepulse inhibition may reveal the strength of inhibition to protect stimulus processing, attentional blink may index the rate of recovery from similar inhibitory processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)504-510
Number of pages7
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Attention
  • Attentional blink
  • Inhibitory processes
  • Prepulse inhibition
  • Startle reflex


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