Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 159, Issue 3, pp 400–404 | Cite as

Inhibition of return in microsaccades

Research Note


Inhibition of return (IOR) is the term used to describe the phenomenon whereby stimuli appearing at recently attended locations are reacted to less efficiently than stimuli appearing at locations that have not yet been attended. In the present study, we employed a typical IOR paradigm with peripheral uninformative cues while participants maintained their eyes at fixation. Eye position was monitored at a high sampling rate (500 Hz) in order to detect miniature eye movements called microsaccades, which have been shown to be crucial for avoiding disappearance of visual image. However, recent studies have demonstrated a close relationship between covert endogenous attentional shifts and the direction of microsaccades. Here, we demonstrate that the direction of microsaccades can be biased away from the peripheral location occupied by a salient, although task-irrelevant, visual signal. Because microsaccades are known not to be under conscious control, our results suggest strong links between IOR and unconscious oculomotor programming.


Inhibition of return Microsaccades Visual perception Oculomotor programming 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Giovanni Galfano
    • 1
  • Elena Betta
    • 1
  • Massimo Turatto
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Cognitive Science and EducationUniversity of TrentoRoveretoItaly

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