Evolutionary psychologists have suggested that modern humans have evolved to automatically direct their attention toward animal stimuli. Although this suggestion has found support in several attentional paradigms, it is not without controversy. Recently, a study employing methods customary to studying the attentional blink has shown inconclusive support for the prioritization of animals in attention. This showed an advantage for reporting animals as second targets within the typical window of the attentional blink, but it remained unclear whether this advantage was really due to a reduction of the attentional blink. We reassessed for the presence of a reduced attentional blink for animals compared with artifacts by using three disparate stimuli sets. A general advantage for animals was found but no indication of a reduction of the attentional blink for animals. There was no support for the prediction that animal distractors should lead to spontaneous inductions of attentional blinks when presented as critical distractors before single targets. Another experiment with single targets still showed that animals were reported more accurately than artifacts. A final experiment showed that when animals were first target, they did not generate stronger attentional blinks. In summary, we did find a general advantage for animal images in the rapid serial visual presentation task, but animal images did not either induce or reduce attentional blinks. This set of results is in line with conclusions from previous research showing no evidence for a special role of animals in attention.
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