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Percept Psychophys. 1999 Oct;61(7):1411-23.

An event-related brain potential study of inhibition of return.

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  • 1University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.


Event-related brain potentials (ERPs) were recorded during two spatial-cuing experiments using nonpredictive cues. Our primary goal was to determine the electrophysiological consequences of inhibition of return (IOR). At long (> 500 msec) cue-target intervals, subjects responded more slowly to targets that appeared at or near the cued location, relative to targets that appeared on the opposite side of fixation from the cue. This behavioral IOR effect was associated with cue-validity effects on several components of the target-elicited ERP waveforms. The earliest such effect was a smaller occipital P1 on valid-cue trials, which we interpret as a P1 reduction. The P2 component was also smaller on valid-cue trials, indicating that nonpredictive spatial cues influence multiple stages of information processing at long cue-target intervals. Both of these effects were observed when sensory interactions between cue and target were likely to be negligible, indicating that they were not caused by sensory refractoriness. A different effect of cue validity, the posterior negative difference, was found when sensory interactions were likely to be greatest, indicating that it could arise from sensory refractoriness.

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