Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 223, Issue 4, pp 469–478 | Cite as

Investigating a two causes theory of inhibition of return

Research Article


It has recently been demonstrated that there are independent sensory and motor mechanisms underlying inhibition of return (IOR) when measured with oculomotor responses (Wang et al. in Exp Brain Res 218:441–453, 2012). However, these results are seemingly in conflict with previous empirical results which led to the proposal that there are two mutually exclusive flavors of IOR (Taylor and Klein in J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform 26:1639–1656, 2000). The observed differences in empirical results across these studies and the theoretical frameworks that were proposed based on the results are likely due to differences in the experimental designs. The current experiments establish that the existence of additive sensory and motor contributions to IOR do not depend on target type, repeated spatiotopic stimulation, attentional control settings, or a temporal gap between fixation offset and cue onset, when measured with saccadic responses. Furthermore, our experiments show that the motor mechanism proposed by Wang et al. in Exp Brain Res 218:441–453, (2012) is likely restricted to the oculomotor system, since the additivity effect does not carry over into the manual response modality.


Inhibition of return Attention Orienting Eye movements Superior colliculus 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Computer ScienceDalhousie UniversityHalifaxCanada
  2. 2.Department of Cognitive PsychologyVrije UniversiteitAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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