Inhibition of return (IOR) facilitates visual search by discouraging the reinspection of recently processed items. We investigated whether IOR operates across two consecutive searches of the same display for different targets. In Experiment 1, we demonstrated that IOR is present within each of the two searches. In Experiment 2, we found no evidence for IOR across searches. In Experiment 3, we showed that IOR is present across the two searches when the first search is interrupted, suggesting that the completion of the search is what causes the resetting of IOR. We concluded that IOR is a partially flexible process that can be reset when the task completes, but not necessarily when it changes. When resetting occurs, this flexibility ensures that the inhibition of previously visited locations does not interfere with the new search.
- Cognitive Science
- Visual Perception