Academic journal article Attention, Perception and Psychophysics

The Effects of Ignored versus Foveated Cues upon Inhibition of Return: An Event-Related Potential Study

Academic journal article Attention, Perception and Psychophysics

The Effects of Ignored versus Foveated Cues upon Inhibition of Return: An Event-Related Potential Study

Article excerpt

Abstract Taylor and Klein (Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance 26:1639- 1656, 2000) discovered two mutually exclusive "flavors" of inhibition of return (IOR): When the oculomotor system is "actively suppressed," IOR affects input processes (the perception/attention flavor), whereas when the oculomotor system is "engaged," IOR affects output processes (the motor flavor). Studies of brain activity with ignored cues have typically reported that IOR reduces an early sensory event-related potential (ERP) component (i.e., the P1 component) of the brain's response to the target. Since eye movements were discouraged in these experiments, the P1 reduction might be a reflection of the perception/attention flavor of IOR. If, instead of ignoring the cue, participants made a prosaccade to the cue (and then returned to fixation) before responding to the target, the motor flavor of IOR should then be generated. We compared these two conditions while monitoring eye position and recording ERPs to the targets. If the P1 modulation is related to the perceptual/ attentional flavor of IOR, we hypothesized that it might be absent when the motoric flavor of IOR was generated by a prosaccade to the cue. Our results demonstrated that targetrelated P1 reductions and behavioral IOR were similar, and significant, in both conditions. However, P1 modulations were significantly correlated with behavioral IOR only when the oculomotor system was actively suppressed, suggesting that P1 modulations may only affect behaviorally exhibited IOR when the attentional/perceptual flavor of IOR is recruited.

Keywords Inhibition of return . Eye movements . Visual attention . VEP . EEG . MEG

Published online: 18 October 2012

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2012

To efficiently navigate the visual environment, humans have ostensibly adapted a mechanism that biases against returning to previously processed space (Klein & MacInnes, 1999; Posner, Rafal, Choate, & Vaughan, 1985). A great deal of laboratory research has demonstrated that keypress and saccadic eye movement response times (RTs) are slower to targets presented in previously processed rather than unprocessed space when the interval between the target and prior inputs exceeds approximately 300 ms (for a review, see Klein, 2000). These effects are often interpreted as reflecting a bias against previously processed inputs. Although multiple neural mechanisms may underlie this effect (e.g.,Hunt&Kingstone, 2003; Kingstone & Pratt, 1999; Sumner, Nachev, Vora, Husain, & Kennard, 2004; Taylor&Klein, 2000; Zhang&Zhang, 2011), the term "inhibition of return" (IOR; Posner et al., 1985) is commonly used when referring to them.

Attentional/perceptual- versus motoric-flavored IOR

The cornerstone finding that is most commonly attributed to IOR (Posner et al., 1985) was first discovered by Posner and Cohen (1984) in a spatial-cueing paradigm in which the participant was instructed to ignore a spatially uninformative visual onset stimulus (the cue) and to respond to another onset (the target) that appeared sometime later. The imperative response stimulus (the target) appeared randomly at either the cued or uncued location. In this seminal study, observers depressed a single key to acknowledge the appearance of the target. Critically, Posner and Cohen also manipulated the time between the cue and target onsets, often referred to as the "cue-target onset asynchrony" (CTOA). Replicating previous findings (cf. Posner, 1980), RTs were faster to targets at the cued than at the uncued location if the CTOA was shorter than 200 ms. The surprising, and critical, finding was that when the CTOA exceeded 300 ms, RTs were slower to targets appearing at the cued, as compared to the uncued, location.

Using variations on this model task, Taylor and Klein (2000) parametrically manipulated the physical nature of the first and second signals (S1 and S2, respectively) in a dedicated effort to uncover the cause(s) and effect(s) of IOR (see Fig. …

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