One way to increase understanding of the mechanisms that guide action towards relevant information is to examine processing of irrelevant information. In particular, our research suggests that goal-directed behaviour is aided by inhibition of irrelevant location- and object-based representations. Evidence from the inhibition of return (IOR) paradigm indicates that the nature of a task and the goals of action result in differing representational loci of inhibition, which elicit different behavioural effects and are mediated by distinct neural systems. Interestingly, our new research indicates that inhibition of object-based representations in particular can mediate response over longer periods. Support is provided here for IOR over six previously cued objects and delays of nearly 4 s, which suggests that action is aided by online maintenance of object inhibition in working memory. Importantly, we also provide the first evidence of long-term IOR effects over nearly 100 displays and 20 min, which indicate that inhibition of objects, but not object-less spatial locations, leaves a retrievable trace in episodic memory that affects behaviour over time. In summary, while inhibition of irrelevant objects and locations both aid correct transient response, goal-directed action over time may be mediated by retrieval of prior inhibitory processes.
|Title of host publication||Attention in Action|
|Subtitle of host publication||Advances from Cognitive Neuroscience|
|Number of pages||40|
|ISBN (Print)||0203449223, 9780203449226|
|Publication status||Published - 24 Nov 2004|