Effect of tobacco deprivation on the attentional blink in rapid serial visual presentation

Adrienne Heinz, Andrew J. Waters, Richard C. Taylor, Carol S. Myers, Eric T. Moolchan, Stephen J. Heishman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


When two targets are imbedded in rapid serial visual presentation (RSVP), identification of the second target (T2) is impaired if it occurs within 500 ms of the first target (T1). This attentional blink (AB) is thought to involve interference of resources in processing T1 and T2. The deleterious effect of tobacco deprivation on attention has been documented, but no studies have examined the AB. Nonsmokers (n = 30), 12-h tobacco-deprived smokers (n = 30), and nondeprived smokers (n = 30) were randomly assigned to perform the RSVP with one of three stimulus-duration conditions (96, 113, or 130 ins). Participants completed 48 RSVP trials. Each trial consisted of 16 individually presented words (T1, T2, and 14 distractors), and T2 lagged T1 at serial positions 1 - 8. Participants verbalized T1 and T2 in order immediately after each trial. Identification of T2 (for correct T1 trials) was impaired at early versus late lag positions, which was especially pronounced in the most difficult (96 ms) condition. There was no evidence for group differences on the AB; however, deprived smokers were worse identifying T1 in the 113-ms condition. These results suggest that the AB is influenced by stimulus duration, but not by 12 h of tobacco deprivation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)89-96
Number of pages8
JournalHuman Psychopharmacology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Attention
  • Attentional blink
  • Nicotine
  • Perception
  • Tobacco deprivation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Psychology(all)
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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