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Does action disrupt multiple object tracking?


Bülthoff,  Heinrich H
Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Thornton, I., Horowitz, T., & Bülthoff, H. H. (2014). Does action disrupt multiple object tracking?. Poster presented at Applied Vision Association Christmas Meeting 2013, Leuven, Belgium.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0001-322A-8
Multiple Object Tracking (MOT) has proven to be a very useful laboratory tool for exploring the limits of divided attention. Compared to many other attention tasks, MOT appears to capture much of the complexity of our day-to-day environment. Often though, for example when driving or playing sport, we need to act on the environment as well as simply monitor it. In the current work, we asked whether the need to make focused, task-relevant movements, would interfere with the ability to track multiple objects. Sixteen participants completed single-task versions of standard MOT and a new collision-avoidance task that we call interactive multiple object tracking (iMOT). In the iMOT task, which is based on the popular mobile app games Flight Controller and Harbor Master, the goal is to stop objects colliding by using touch control to perturb trajectories. Compared to single-task baseline, iMOT performance decreased and MOT performance increased when the two tasks had to be performed together. Although strategic allocation of resources may partly account for this pattern of cost and benefits, it seems clear that actions can be planned and executed at the same time as tracking multiple objects.