To facilitate visual search of complex scenes, information arising from recently attended locations is subject to a selective inhibition in processing known as inhibition of return (IOR). Although the mechanisms of IOR remain unresolved, both motor and perceptual influences have been proposed based on reaction time (RT) studies. Here we report the results of two reflexive cuing studies in which signal detection methodology was employed to directly examine the effects of IOR on perception. IOR was found to be associated with a significant reduction in the accuracy of target discriminations at recently attended locations. Further, these effects of IOR on response accuracy were independent of whether emphasis was placed on the speed of responding. These results provide the first direct evidence that IOR can affect the perceptual quality of visual processing.
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