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Stephen Killingsworth, Daniel Levin; Goal Objects Reduce Accuracy in Multiple Object Tracking. Journal of Vision 2012;12(9):549. doi: 10.1167/12.9.549.
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Investigations of multiple object tracking (MOT) typically require participants to track a number of targets moving with random trajectories in two dimensions. These targets behave like frictionless particles trapped within a container. Though MOT has provided valuable insights about multi-focal attention (Scholl, 2009), the typical paradigm neglects a major category of natural events in which objects are set in motion by the intentional pursuit of goals. In our experiment, we altered the traditional MOT paradigm by introducing a set of airplane targets that did not bounce off of the border of their enclosure. Rather, the planes moved among discrete randomly distributed destination points. In the "destination strips" condition, these destination points were marked with landing strips, in another, "invisible destinations", condition there were no markers, and in the "visual complexity control" condition, landing strips were visible, but planes did not move to these points. Our results showed participants were significantly less accurate at tracking when planes moved toward landing strip destinations than in either the invisible destinations condition or the visual complexity control condition. This shows that participants incur a cost to their own tracking performance that may be caused by attending to the relationship between target objects and the locations toward which these targets move. Moreover, this suggests that MOT can be influenced by the intentional relationships between targets and their movement end points.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2012
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