Multiple Object Tracking and the Division of the Attentional Spotlight in a Realistic Tracking Environment




Lochner, Martin J.

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University of Guelph


The multiple object tracking task (Pylyshyn and Storm, 1988) has long been a standard tool for use in understanding how we attend to multiple moving points in the visual field. In the current experiments, it is first demonstrated that this classical task can be adapted for use in a simulated driving environment, where it is commonly thought to apply. Standard requirements of driving (steering, maintaining headway) are shown to reduce tracking ability. Subsequent experiments (2a, 2b, 2c) investigate the way in which participants respond to events at target and distractor locations, and have bearing on Pylyshyn’s (1989) “indexing” hypothesis. The final experiment investigates the effect of the colour-composition of the tracking set on performance, and may have implications for our theoretical understanding of how tracking is performed.



divided attention, multiple object tracking, driving simulation, dual task