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Keywords:

  • Cognition;
  • Sensation/perception;
  • EEG/ERP

Abstract

The present study explored the relationship between inhibition of return (IOR) and visual processes by seeking evidence that IOR and changes in event-related potential (ERP) indices of occipital cortex activity covary in response to experimental manipulation. The presence or absence of a central reorienting event was manipulated within the context of a cue–target experiment. When a reorienting event was presented in the interval between cue and target, IOR was accompanied by reductions in the amplitudes of early occipital ERP peaks on validly cued trials relative to invalidly cued trials. When a reorienting event was not presented, neither IOR nor modulations of the occipital ERP peaks was observed. These results provide strong evidence that IOR arises from changes in occipital visual processing. We propose that IOR arises from a slowing of response-selection processes on validly cued trials due differences in the perceptual input to the decision-making process.