We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Durham University



Publication details for Professor Daniel T. Smith

Smith, D.T. & Schenk, T. (2010). Inhibition of return exaggerates change blindness. Quarterly Journal Of Experimental Psychology 63(11): 2231-2238.

Author(s) from Durham


Peripheral cues trigger attention shifts, which facilitate perceptual processing and enhance visual awareness. However, this facilitation is superseded by an inhibition of return (IOR) effect, which biases attention away from the cued location. While the link between facilitatory effects of visual attention and awareness is well established, no study has reported negative effects of spatial cueing on visual awareness. This failure is puzzling, given the claim that attention is a necessary precondition for awareness. If attention is necessary for awareness, inhibiting attention should also inhibit awareness. This leads to a slightly counterintuitive prediction: Spatial cueing will inhibit awareness at long cue-target latencies. This study shows that subliminal peripheral cues exaggerate change blindness at long cue-change latencies, demonstrating that IOR can suppress visual awareness of changes and suggesting that IOR can directly affect the contents of consciousness.

Contact Us

Ask us online