Date of Award


Degree Type




Director of Thesis

Jessica Green

First Reader

Robin Morris


The Emotional Attentional Blink (EAB) refers to a temporary impairment in the ability to identify a single target when that target is preceded by an emotionally salient distractor, such as a disgusting, violent or erotic image (Most, Smith, Cooter, Levy, & Zald, 2007; Ciesielski, Armstrong, Zald, & Olatunji, 2010). The EAB represents a failure to perform an endogenous target discrimination task as a result of exogenous attentional capture by an emotional image, making it an effective medium through which to study the intersection of these two attentional systems. The present review seeks to relate existing models of the EAB to models of emotion (Tamietto & de Gelder, 2010) as well as endogenous and exogenous attention (Corbetta & Shulman, 2002; Taylor & Fragopanagos, 2005) in order to demonstrate the EAB’s utility in these research fields. Accompanying this review will be a brief research agenda and pilot experiment meant to address a few of the most integral questions to the study of attention and emotion, utilizing the EAB paradigm. A review of relevant literature as well as the aforementioned pilot study support the notion that the EAB may be a powerful tool in uncovering answer to the bigger questions in attention and emotion research.

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© 2017, Jonathan Keefe

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