Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology

Inhibition of Return and Repetition Priming Effects in Localization and Discrimination Tasks

Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology

Inhibition of Return and Repetition Priming Effects in Localization and Discrimination Tasks

Article excerpt

Abstract

Inhibition of return (IOR) refers to slower responding to a stimulus that is presented at the same, rather than a different location as a preceding, spatially nonpredictive, stimulus. Repetition priming refers to speeded responding to a stimulus that duplicates the visual characteristics of a stimulus that precedes it. IOR and repetition priming effects interact in nonspatial discrimination tasks but not in localization tasks; three experiments examined whether this is due to processing differences or due to response differences between tasks. Two stimuli, S1 and S2, occurred on each trial. In Experiment 1, S1 and S2 were both peripheral arrows; in Experiment 2, S1 was a central arrow and S2 was a peripheral nondirectional rectangle; in Experiment 3, S1 was a peripheral nondirectional rectangle and S2 was a peripheral arrow. S1 never required a response: S2 required a localization or a discrimination response. Despite evidence that form information was likely extracted from the arrow stimuli, the localization task revealed no repetition priming: IOR occurred regardless of shared visual identity of the S1 and S2 arrows. The discrimination task revealed IOR only when the visual identity changed from S1 to S2; otherwise, facilitation occurred. These results suggest that IOR is masked by repetition priming only when the response depends on the explicit processing of form information; repetition priming does not occur when such information is extracted automatically but is task (and response) irrelevant.

When a sudden-onset cue appears abruptly in the peripheral visual field, it attracts covert attention and speeds reaction times (RTs) to targets that appear immediately thereafter in the same location (Posner, 1980; Posner & Cohen, 1984). However, if the cue contains no information regarding the location of the impending target, attention is withdrawn from the cued location. Following this withdrawal of attention, reaction time (RT) becomes slower to targets that appear in the same, rather than a different, location as the cue. This relative slowing of RTs is referred to as Inhibition of Return (IOR; Posner & Cohen) and is believed to subserve efficient visual search by discouraging repeated orienting to a location at which attention has already been directed (Klein, 1988). Critically, attention must be withdrawn from a peripheral location in order for IOR to be revealed there (e.g., Danziger & Kingstone, 1999; Posner & Cohen). This is usually accomplished, in whole or in part, by making the location of the onset cue non-predictive with respect to the locution of the impending target.

While a non-predictive relationship between the cue and target (cf. Taylor & Klein, 2000) seems necessary for observing IOR, evidence from continuous-responding tasks reveals that this condition is not sufficient. In continuous-responding tasks, participants respond to each of a series of targets and IOR is measured as slowed responding to the target on Trial H when it occurs in the same, rather than a different, location as the target on Trial n-1. Even though the location of the target on Trial n-1 does not predict the location of the target on Trial n, IOR is not universally observed. Instead, the occurrence of IOR depends critically on the response that is made to each target. In particular, IOR occurs only when a detection or localization response is made to each target (e.g., Tanaka & Shimojo, 1996). When participants must make a response to report a discriminated perceptual property of the target (e.g., whether the colour of the target was red or green), RTs are facilitated - rather than inhibited - when the same target repeats in the same rather than in different location (see also Terry, Valdes, & Neill, 1994).

It has been suggested that rather than depending on spatial unpredictability, IOR for discrimination responses in continuous-responding paradigms may depend on the information value of each target. …

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