August 2014
Volume 14, Issue 10
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   August 2014
My Attention is Over There: A Serial Component for Multiple Object Tracking
Author Affiliations
  • Justin M. Ericson
    Department of Psychology, Louisiana State University
  • Rebecca R. Goldstein
    Department of Psychology, Louisiana State University
  • Melissa R. Beck
    Department of Psychology, Louisiana State University
Journal of Vision August 2014, Vol.14, 356. doi:
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      Justin M. Ericson, Rebecca R. Goldstein, Melissa R. Beck; My Attention is Over There: A Serial Component for Multiple Object Tracking. Journal of Vision 2014;14(10):356. doi:

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Increasing the number of changes in trajectory has been shown to negatively impact tracking accuracy (Ericson & Beck, 2013). Additionally, unexpected changes in trajectory have been known to attract attention (Howard & Holcombe, 2010). However, whether or not there is some attentional resource priority given to target items that have recently changed direction is unknown. This study examined whether attention lingers on a target after the target has changed trajectory. Previously, it was demonstrated that reaction times were faster to target probes that occurred on items that changed trajectory more frequently (Ericson, Goldstein, & Beck, VSS 13). The current study utilized a rotating tracking paradigm, four targets were paired with distractors and each target-distractor pair rotated for six revolutions. Each pair moved independently of the others and either did not change trajectory (0 change) or changed trajectory four times in a trial (4 change). In each trial, 100 ms after a change in trajectory for a target-distractor pair occurred, a single gray probe appeared on a target object for 100 ms. Participants were instructed to track the targets and press a spacebar as quickly and accurately as possible when the probe appeared. Probes appeared either on the same target that had just changed trajectory or on a different target. Results replicated previous findings showing that participants had better tracking accuracy on the 0-change trials compared to the 4-change trials. For the 4-change trials, when the probe appeared on the same target that just changed trajectory, probe detection was significantly better than in the 0-change trials, and was also better than when the probe appeared on a different item in the 4-change trials. This demonstrates that attention is preferentially allocated to a target item when it changes trajectory, suggesting a serial processing component in multiple object tracking.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2014


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