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J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform. 2000 Oct;26(5):1639-56.

Visual and motor effects in inhibition of return.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.


Inhibition of return (IOR) refers to slowed reaction times (RTs) when a target appears in the same rather than a different location as a preceding stimulus. The present study tested the hypothesis that IOR reflects a motor bias rather than a perceptual deficit. Two signals (S1 and S2) were presented on each trial. These signals were peripheral onsets or central arrows. The responses required to S1 and S2 were, respectively, no response-manual, manual-manual, saccadic-manual, no response-saccadic, manual-saccadic, and saccadic-saccadic. Uniting perceptual and motor bias views of IOR, the results demonstrated inhibition for responding to (a) peripheral signals when the eyes remained fixed (slowed visual processing) and (b) both peripheral and central signals when the eyes moved (slowed motor production). However, the results also emphasized that the nature of IOR depends fundamentally on the response modality used to reveal its influence.

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