Inhibition of return (IOR) has long been viewed as a foraging facilitator in visual search. We investigated the contribution of IOR in a task that approximates natural foraging more closely than typical visual search tasks. Participants in a fully immersive virtual reality environment manually searched an array of leaves for a hidden piece of fruit, using a wand to select and examine each leaf location. Search was slower than in typical IOR paradigms, taking seconds instead of a few hundred milliseconds. Participants also made a speeded response when they detected a flashing leaf that either was or was not in a previously searched location. Responses were slower when the flashing leaf was in a previously searched location than when it was in an unvisited location. These results generalize IOR to an approximation of a naturalistic visual search setting and support the hypothesis that IOR can facilitate foraging. The experiment also constitutes the first use of a fully immersive virtual reality display in the study of IOR.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)