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Nicole L. Jardine, Laura E. Thomas, Adriane E. Seiffert; Visually guided self-motion does not impair multiple object-tracking. Journal of Vision 2011;11(11):285. doi: 10.1167/11.11.285.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Moving about the world seems to involve a process of keeping track of one's own location in space that interferes with the ability to track moving objects (Thomas & Seiffert, 2010, Cognition). Here, we manipulated visual cues to self-motion to determine whether the cost of self-motion on tracking could be eliminated. As in the previous work, participants tracked 3 red targets among 3 red distractors, all moving randomly within a confined region of a virtual environment, then responded to a target-or-distractor probe at the end of each trial. While tracking, participants stepped in place or walked in a quarter circle around the tracking region. For this experiment, we changed the background so that it was a gray, featureless ganzfeld and added 3 black dots to manipulate the visual cues to self-motion. When these black dots were stationary, tracking accuracy was higher for stepping (90% correct) than walking (77%), t(11) = 3.7, p < .005. This replicated our previous work showing that even when reliable visual cues are given, self-motion impairs object tracking. When the black dots moved randomly like the distractors, the same result was obtained (stepping = 92% and walking = 77%, t(11) = 3.7, p < .005). This result suggests that even when no stationary visual cues are present, updating from self-motion impairs object tracking. However, when the black dots guided self-motion by rotating along arcs concentric to the participant's motion, self-motion did not impair tracking (89.1% and 88.9%, t < 1, ns). Interestingly, this was true whether the dots rotated in the same or opposite direction as the participants. As a whole, these data suggest that multiple object tracking and self-motion share a resource related to updating locations in space, but that visual guidance of self-motion can reduce the dependence on this resource.
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