• Sensation/perception;
  • Normal volunteers;


Attentional blink (AB) refers to the situation where the correct identification of a first target causes a processing deficit of a second target. The present study aims to clarify the stage at which the auditory AB occurs by means of scalp-recorded event-related potentials. On each trial, participants indicated whether predefined target sounds were presented in a rapid series of distractor sounds. The results showed a large AB when the presentation rate was fast. This auditory AB was paralleled by a suppression of the P3b wave to the second target. During the AB, the second target generated N1 and P2 waves, suggesting that some aspects of perceptual processing were preserved. The magnitude of the AB decreased with decreasing presentation rate. The improvement in detecting the second target was accompanied by an increased and delayed P3b. These results suggest that the auditory AB reflects a limitation of short-term consolidation and provides evidence for a common underlying processing limitation during the AB in both visual and auditory modalities.