Priming From Distractors in Rapid Serial Visual Presentation Is Modulated by Image Properties and Attention

Irina M. Harris*, Claire T. Benito, Paul E. Dux

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Citations (Scopus)


We investigated distractor processing in a dual-target rapid serial visual presentation (RSVP) task containing familiar objects, by measuring repetition priming from a priming distractor (PD) to Target 2 (T2). Priming from a visually identical PD was contrasted with priming from a PD in a different orientation from T2. We also tested the effect of attention on distractor processing, by placing the PD either within or outside the attentional blink (AB). PDs outside the AB induced positive priming when they were in a different orientation to T2 and no priming, or negative priming, when they were perceptually identical to T2. PDs within the AB induced positive priming regardless of orientation. These findings demonstrate (1) that distractors are processed at multiple levels of representation; (2) that the view-specific representations of distractors are actively suppressed during RSVP; and (3) that this suppression fails in the absence of attention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1595-1608
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2010



  • Attentional blink
  • Distractor inhibition
  • Distractor processing
  • Object orientation

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