The Effect of Touch on Multiple-Object Tracking Performance: Investigating Exogenously Directed Touch

Terry, Mallory E.
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University of Guelph

Multiple-object tracking (MOT), the ability to track the positions of multiple moving targets among identical non-targets, has been theorized to require the same cognitive mechanisms that are employed while touching these items. A series of four experiments were conducted to investigate the relationship between MOT and touch. Participants completed the MOT task and in some conditions they were instructed to touch items that changed colour, either a target or distractor item (depending on the condition). Overall touching items decreased tracking performance. Similarly, decrements in the touch task occurred when participants completed both tasks concurrently. As predicted, touching distractors interfered more than touching targets. Taken together, these findings provide evidence that the mechanism employed to track moving items is part of touch as predicted by Pylyshyn’s FINST theory (Pylyshyn, 1989).

Multiple-object tracking, Visual attention, Visually-guided touch, Coordinated action