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Experiment Author: Adapted from STEP and used with permission of Brian MacWhinney
This experiment illustrates inhibition of return (IOR). IOR occurs when a location is cued and then a target appears in it. At that point, participants are slower to notice the target than if it had been in a precued location.
Participants in this experiment are to watch for an asterisk to appear in one of two boxes found at either side of the display. If an asterisk appears, participants are to press the "b" key on a keyboard.
Lupiáñez, J., Milán, E.G., Tornay, F.J., Madrid, E., & Tudela, P. (1997). Does IOR occur in discrimnation tasks? Yes, it does, but later. Perception & Psychophysics, 59, 1241-125.
Cited Experiment Abstract
When a stimulus appears in a previously cued location several hundred milliseconds after the cue, the time required to detect that stimulus is greater than when it appears in an uncued location. This increase in detection time is known as inhibition of return (IOR). It has been suggested that IOR reflects the action of a general attentional mechanism that prevents attention from returning to previously expolored loci. At the same time, the robustness of IOR has been recently disputed, given several failures to obtain the effect in tasks requiring discrimination rather than detection. In a series of eight experiments, we evaluated the differences between detection and discrimination tasks with regard to IOR. We found that IOR was consistently obtained with both tasks, although the temporal parameters required to observe IOR were different in detection and discrimination tasks. In our detection task, the effect appeared after a 400-msec delay between cue and target, and was still present after 1,300 msec. In our discrimination task, the effect appeared later and disappeared sooner. The implications of these data for theoretical accounts of IOR are discussed.
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