December 2022
Volume 22, Issue 14
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   December 2022
Meaningful information influences inhibition of return
Author Affiliations
  • Samantha Stranc
    University of Toronto
  • Jay Pratt
    University of Toronto
Journal of Vision December 2022, Vol.22, 4379. doi:
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      Samantha Stranc, Jay Pratt; Meaningful information influences inhibition of return. Journal of Vision 2022;22(14):4379.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Inhibition of return (IOR) is the mechanism that is thought to bias attention away from previously attended stimuli and towards novel stimuli. This inhibitory mechanism makes sense in a foraging context, in which it would be beneficial for attention to be directed towards locations that provide new information for the visual system. But what happens when we come across some useful information in the course of our visual foraging? Cueing paradigms designed to investigate IOR effects almost exclusively use cues that are completely uninformative; they do not provide actionable information of any kind. A question then arises: does IOR still occur when visual cues contain meaningful information about the task? It is important to note that by meaningful we do not mean that the cues we are interested in provide any information about the spatial locations of the upcoming targets (such spatial information is known to eliminate IOR). Rather, our question focusses on cues that provide some information critical to the completion of the task; they are both task relevant and spatially uninformative. To examine if meaningful cues affect IOR, a typical IOR cueing paradigm with two cue/target locations was modified to include task-relevant information assigned to cues; target detection was made to be dependent on cue colour (respond to targets following green cues, without responses to targets following red cues). We found that IOR did occur with meaningful cues but the time course was more restricted when compared to traditional non-meaningful cues. Thus, IOR persists but is modified by the presence of meaningful information.


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