Inhibition of return to occluded objects
Since many visual objects are vulnerable to occlusion, an active process that tracks objects behind occluders confers considerable ecological validity to the visual system. We studied this possibility by testing whether inhibition of return can be observed with occluded objects. In our experiments, two moving objects disappeared or reappeared behind occluders while a cue and a probe were presented. Contrary to the results of a previous study (Tipper, Weaver, Jerreat, & Burak, 1994), responses were consistently delayed for the cued object that was occluded when it was cued (Experiment 1), when it was probed (Experiment 2), or both (Experiment 3). These results suggest that attention can select occluded objects that are out of view. Our findings are in line with prior studies that have demonstrated similar perceptual/attentional effects for occluded objects, as well as for visible objects.
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