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Inhibition of Return in Visual Identification Tasks

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In detection tasks, at long precue-target intervals, inhibition from precueing, rather than facilitation, has been shown. This inhibition, called ''inhibition of return" (IOR), does not always occur in discrimination or identification tasks. Here in post-hoc analyses and three new experiments, evidence for IOR was shown in a target identification task using a location-cueing paradigm. In Experiments 1 and 2, a series of three cues attracted attention without eye movement, first to one of four peripheral locations, then to fixation, and then either back to the initial location or to a different one. Identification accuracy for masked visual targets was impaired when third-cue and first-cue locations matched, which constitutes evidence forIOR. In Experiment3, there was no third cue. An uninformative first cue was followed by a cue at fixation, and then a peripheral target in a ''go/no-go" reaction time task. Inhibition of return was still obtained. Thus, IOR can affect identification as well as detection performance, so it could be a general mechanism for optimising search.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: September 1, 1998


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