Abstract There is considerable current interest in neural modeling of the attentional blink phenomenon. Two prominent models of this task are the Simultaneous Type Serial Token (ST 2) model and the Locus Coeruleus–Norepinephrine (LC–NE) model. The former of these generates a broad spectrum of behavioral data, while the latter provides a neurophysiologically detailed account. This paper explores the relationship between these two approaches. Specifically, we consider the spectrum of empirical phenomena that the two models generate, particularly emphasizing the need to generate a reciprocal relationship between bottom-up trace strength and the blink bottleneck. Then we discuss the implications of using ST 2 token mechanisms in the LC–NE setting.