Microsaccadic response during inhibition of return in a target–target paradigm

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This study examined the relationship between inhibition of return (IOR) in covert orienting and microsaccade statistics. Unlike a previous study [Galfano, G., Betta, E., & Turatto, M. (2004)], IOR was assessed by means of a target–target paradigm, and microsaccade dynamics were monitored as a function of both the first and the second visual event. In line with what has been reported with a cue-target paradigm, a significant directional modulation was observed opposite to the first visual event. Because participants were to respond to any stimulus, this rules out the possibility that the modulation resulted from a generic motor inhibition, showing instead that it is peculiarly coupled to the oculomotor system. Importantly, after the second visual event, a different response was observed in microsaccade orientation, whose direction critically depended of whether the second visual event appeared at the same location as the first visual event. The results are consistent with the notion that IOR is composed of both attentional and oculomotor components, and challenge the view that covert orienting paradigms engage the attentional component in isolation.

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