Saccade Preparation Inhibits Reorienting to Recently Attended Locations

Robert D. Rafal, Peter A. Calabresi, Cameron W. Brennan, Toni K. Sciolto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We measured manual reaction time in normal human subjects to confirm that an eccentric visual signal has a biphasic effect on covert attention and eye movements. First, it summons attention and biases a saccade toward the signal; a subsequent inhibition of return then slows responses to signals at that location. A temporal hemifield dominance for inhibition of return was shown; this finding coverges with observations in neurologic patients to suggest that it is mediated by midbrain pathways. Endogenous orienting of attention, from a central arrow cue, did not activate inhibition of return, whereas endogenous saccade preparation did so as effectively as an exogenous signal, even when no saccade was made. Inhibition of return is activated by midbrain oculomotor pathways and may function as a location "tagging" mechanism to optimize efficiency of visual search.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)673-685
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 1989
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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