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Regular version of the site

Article

Inhibition of return: An information processing theory of its natures and significance

Cortex. 2021. Vol. 135. P. 30-48.
Redden R., MacInnes W., Klein R.

Inhibition of return (IOR) is an inhibitory aftereffect of visuospatial orienting, typically resulting in slower responses to targets presented in an area that has been recently attended. Since its discovery, myriad research has sought to explain the causes and effects underlying this phenomenon. Here, we briefly summarize the history of the phenomenon, and describe the early work supporting the functional significance of IOR as a foraging facilitator. We then shine a light on the discordance in the literature with respect to mechanism — in particular the lack of theoretical constructs that can consistently explain innumerable dissociations. We then describe three diagnostics (central arrow targets, locus of slack logic and the psychological refractory period, and performance in speed-accuracy space) used to support our theory that there are two forms of inhibition of return — the form which is manifest being contingent upon the activation state of the reflexive oculomotor system. The input form, which operates to decrease the salience of inputs, is generated when the reflexive oculomotor system is suppressed; the output form, which operates to bias responding, is generated when the reflexive oculomotor system is not suppressed. Then, we subject a published data set, where inhibitory effects had been generated while the reflexive oculomotor system was either active or suppressed, to diffusion modeling. As we hypothesized, based on the aforementioned theory, the effects of the two forms of IOR were best accounted for by different drift diffusion parameters.