Psychonomic Bulletin & Review

, Volume 5, Issue 4, pp 625–643 | Cite as

On the causes and effects of inhibition of return

  • Tracy L. TaylorEmail author
  • Raymond M. Klein


Unpredictive visual transient cues have a biphasic effect on reaction times (RTs) to peripheral onset targets. At relatively short (e.g., 150-msec) cue-target stimulus onset asynchronies (SOAs), RTs to targets at cued versus uncued locations are facilitated, whereas at relatively long SOAs (e.g., beyond 300 msec), they are inhibited. The present review explores the conditions under which this latter, inhibitory, effect-referred to as inhibition of return (IOR; Posner & Cohen, 1984)—is revealed and those conditions under which it is generated. We argue that the extant literature converges on the view that IOR reflects a motor response bias that is generated by the activation of an oculomotor program to fixate the cue. However, we reveal that current conceptualizations of IOR are based on a limited sampling of possible tests of the generation and measurement of IOR and indicate where further experimental research is critical.


Journal ofExperimental Psychology Superior Colliculus Temporal Order Judgment Attentional Orienting Uncued Location 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dalhousie UniversityHalifaxCanada
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyVanderbilt UniversityNashville

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