Although inhibition of return is known to affect a wide range of detection tasks, it has not been found consistently in discrimination tasks. To examine this issue, 5 experiments were conducted in which participants discriminated between a visual target and a distractor. The responses were not inhibited if, before the onset of stimuli, attention had been overtly oriented (i.e., an eye movement was made) to the future target location and the stimulus at that location was the same symbol as the upcoming target. However, if attention was covertly oriented (i.e., no eye movement was made) to the future location of the target, or if the stimulus at the earlier attended location was a symbol different from the target, responses to the target were inhibited. Overall, the findings provide insights into the relation between movements of attention and discrimination judgments and support the notion that inhibition of return is an attentional phenomenon.
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