The effect of co-actor group membership on the social inhibition of return effect

Orit Nafcha, Aya Morshed-Sakran, Simone Shamay-Tsoory, Shai Gabay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Being part of a group is a crucial factor in human social interaction. In the current study we explored whether group membership affects reflexive automatic cognitive functioning, and specifically the social inhibition of return effect (SIOR; Welsh et al., 2005). SIOR is characterized by slower reaction times (RTs) to a location already searched by another agent. To examine whether group membership modulates SIOR, we recruited Muslim and Jewish students from the University of Haifa to perform a task with either an in-group member or an out-group member. Both IOR and SIOR were suggested to act as a foraging facilitator (Klein, 2000; Welsh et al., 2005). Accordingly, we predicted that the SIOR effect would be larger when performing the task with an in-group member than with an out-group member. The results confirmed our prediction by indicating that the co-actor's group membership modulated the SIOR effect. These findings are consistent with the notion that social factors play a critical role in producing the SIOR effect and provide a novel indication of the influence of social factors such as group membership on basic reflexive cognitive processes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103119
JournalActa Psychologica
StatePublished - Jul 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Orit Nafcha is grateful to the Azrieli Foundation for the award of an Azrieli Fellowship.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier B.V.


  • Group membership
  • In-group/out-group
  • Orienting of attention
  • Social context
  • Social inhibition of return

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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