Inhibition of return and the human frontal eye fields

Tony Ro, Alessandro Farnè, Erik Chang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Scopus citations


Inhibition of return (IOR) is a bias against reorienting attention to a previously cued location. In this study, using single-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), we show that the human frontal eye fields (FEF) play a crucial role in the generation of IOR. When TMS was applied over the right FEF at a time interval after a visual cue but shortly before the target, IOR was modulated in the hemifield ipsilateral to the TMS such that responses to a previously cued target were no longer slower than responses to uncued targets. Control TMS over the superior parietal lobule, as well as TMS of the FEF shortly after the cue but well before the target, had no influence on IOR. We further show that the FEF is involved with visual selection as responses to targets appearing contralateral to the TMS of the FEF, but not the control site, were delayed. These results suggest that the FEF produces IOR by biasing attention and eye movements away from a previously attended location and facilitating target detection at novel locations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)290-296
Number of pages7
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2003


  • Frontal eye fields (FEF)
  • Human
  • Inhibition of return (IOR)
  • Reaction times
  • Saccades
  • Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)


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