Repetition blindness has a perceptual locus: evidence from online processing of targets in RSVP streams.
Repetition blindness (RB) may reveal a new limitation on human perceptual processing. Recently, however, researchers have attributed RB to postperceptual processes. The standard rapid serial visual presentation (RSVP) paradigm used in most RB studies is open to such objections. The "single-frame" paradigm introduced by J. C. Johnston and B. L. Hale (1984) allowed investigation of RB with minimal memory demands. Participants made a judgment about whether 1 masked target word was the same or different than a posttarget probe. Confidence ratings permitted use of signal detection methods. In the critical condition for RB, a precue of the posttarget word was provided prior to the target stimulus so that the required judgment amounted to whether the target did or did not repeat the precue word. In control treatments, the precue was an unrelated word or a dummy. Results showed that perceptual sensitivity was significantly reduced in the RB condition relative to baseline control conditions. The data showed that RB can be obtained under conditions in which memory problems are minimal and perceptual sensitivity is assessed independently of biases. RB therefore can be a perceptual phenomenon.