Unmasking the inhibition of return phenomenon

Shai Danziger, Alan Kingstone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

122 Scopus citations


Conventional wisdom holds that a nonpredictive peripheral cue produces a biphasic response time (RT) pattern: early facilitation at the cued location, followed by an RT delay at that location. The latter effect is called inhibition of return (IOR). In two experiments, we report that IOR occurs at a cued location far earlier than was previously thought, and that it is distinct from attentional orienting. In Experiment 1, IOR was observed early (i.e., within 50 msec) at the cued location, when the cue predicted that a detection target would occur at another location. In Experiment 2, this early IOR effect was demonstrated to occur for target detection, but not for target identification. We conclude that previous failures to observe early IOR at a cued location may have been due to attention being directed to the cued location and thus "masking" IOR.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1024-1037
Number of pages14
JournalPerception and Psychophysics
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Sensory Systems
  • General Psychology


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