Recent studies have demonstrated that orienting of attention in response to nonpredictive gaze cues arises rapidly and automatically, in a similar fashion to peripheral sudden onset cueing. However, while peripheral cues consistently elicit inhibition of return (IOR) at about 300 ms following cue onset, very little is known about inhibition effects in response to gaze cues. The present experiments systematically examined the conditions under which IOR arises with such cues. Reliable inhibition effects were obtained. Importantly, IOR emerged only at long cue-target intervals and only when a second cue actively triggered attention away from the cued location. This suggests that compared to sudden onset cueing, gaze cueing results in both prolonged facilitation and a delayed onset of inhibition processes. Thus, although both types of cues elicit very similar orienting effects in terms of their basic behavioural outcomes, there are more subtle differences between gaze and peripheral cues with respect to the maintenance and quality of those cueing effects across time.
Frischen, A., Smilek, D., Eastwood, J. D., & Tipper, S. P. (2007). Inhibition of return in response to gaze cues: the roles of time-course and fixation cue. Visual Cognition, 15(8), 881-895. https://doi.org/10.1080/13506280601112493