June 2007
Volume 7, Issue 9
Free
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   June 2007
Are visual working memory and multiple object tracking limited by a common attention capacity?
Author Affiliations
  • Hang Zhang
    State Key Laboratory of Brain and Cognitive Science, Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, and Graduate School of the Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • Yuming Xuan
    State Key Laboratory of Brain and Cognitive Science, Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • Xiaolan Fu
    State Key Laboratory of Brain and Cognitive Science, Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences
Journal of Vision June 2007, Vol.7, 351. doi:10.1167/7.9.351
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      Hang Zhang, Yuming Xuan, Xiaolan Fu; Are visual working memory and multiple object tracking limited by a common attention capacity?. Journal of Vision 2007;7(9):351. doi: 10.1167/7.9.351.

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Abstract

About 4 objects can be kept in visual working memory (VWM) and about 4 objects can be visually tracked simultaneously in the Multiple Object Tracking (MOT) task. This resemblance was caught by Cowan (2001) as evidence for a common attention limit underlying both VWM and MOT. Consistent with Cowan's argument, fMRI studies showed that the activation of the posterior parietal cortex increases with the number of items in VWM or MOT. However, it should be noted that MOT is closely associated with location information whereas many VWM tasks demand a comparison of visual properties at the same location in sample and probe displays. So it might be the processing of spatial information that leads to the similarity between VWM and MOT. We tested this possibility in two experiments by examining the dual-task interference of MOT and VWM. In Experiment 1, we found that there was interference between VWM for color-location combination and MOT but no interference between VWM for color-shape combination and MOT. In Experiment 2, we further tested whether tracking more targets would lead to more impairment on location-relevant VWM and found that it depended on speed of objects in MOT. Only under low speed did more targets lead to more impairment. In summary, our results suggest that VWM and MOT might share some capacity-limited resource related to spatial processing, but not a common attention resource.

Zhang, H. Xuan, Y. Fu, X. (2007). Are visual working memory and multiple object tracking limited by a common attention capacity? [Abstract]. Journal of Vision, 7(9):351, 351a, http://journalofvision.org/7/9/351/, doi:10.1167/7.9.351. [CrossRef]
Footnotes
 This research was supported in part by grants from 973 Program of Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology (2006CB303101) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (60433030 & 30500157).
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