Inhibition of return shortens perceived duration of a brief visual event

Vision Res. 2016 Nov:128:39-44. doi: 10.1016/j.visres.2016.08.007. Epub 2016 Sep 29.


We investigated the influence of attentional inhibition on the perceived duration of a brief visual event. Although attentional capture by an exogenous cue is known to prolong the perceived duration of an attended visual event, it remains unclear whether time perception is also affected by subsequent attentional inhibition at the location previously cued by an exogenous cue, an attentional phenomenon known as inhibition of return. In this study, we combined spatial cuing and duration judgment. After one second from the appearance of an uninformative peripheral cue either to the left or to the right, a target appeared at a cued side in one-third of the trials, which indeed yielded inhibition of return, and at the opposite side in another one-third of the trials. In the remaining trials, a cue appeared at a central box and one second later, a target appeared at either the left or right side. The target at the previously cued location was perceived to last shorter than the target presented at the opposite location, and shorter than the target presented after the central cue presentation. Therefore, attentional inhibition produced by a classical paradigm of inhibition of return decreased the perceived duration of a brief visual event.

Keywords: Duration perception; Spatial cuing; Visual attention.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Attention / physiology*
  • Cues*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inhibition, Psychological*
  • Male
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Space Perception / physiology*
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult