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Laura E. Thomas, Michael S. Ambinder, Brendon Hsieh, Brian Levinthal, James A. Crowell, David E. Irwin, Arthur F. Kramer, Alejandro Lleras, Daniel J. Simons, Ranxiao F. Wang; Fruitful visual search: Inhibition of return in a virtual foraging task. Journal of Vision 2005;5(8):1014. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/5.8.1014.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Inhibition of return (IOR) has long been viewed as a foraging facilitator in visual search. The current research sought to investigate the foraging hypothesis of IOR in a naturalistic foraging task and to examine how the context of visual search modulates inhibitory effects. Participants in a fully immersive virtual reality environment manually searched beneath an array of leaves for a piece of fruit. On each trial, participants used a virtual wand to select and inspect locations in their search for the target; unlike typical IOR paradigms, location searches were slow (taking seconds instead of a few 100 ms). Participants were instructed to make a speeded response when they detected a flashing leaf that was 1, 2, or 3 positions back in the search sequence or a distance-equated leaf that had not been searched. Reaction times to detect the presence of a cued leaf in this display were slower when the cued leaf had previously been searched than when the cue appeared at an unvisited location, irrespective of distance. These results support the foraging hypothesis, generalizing this phenomenon to a realistic foraging setting. A second experiment showed that this IOR effect can be modulated by search context and task demands, and does not occur automatically.
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