Perception & Psychophysics

, Volume 69, Issue 2, pp 172–184

Tracking unique objects

  • Todd S. Horowitz
  • Sarah B. Klieger
  • David E. Fencsik
  • Kevin K. Yang
  • George A. Alvarez
  • Jeremy M. Wolfe
Article

DOI: 10.3758/BF03193740

Cite this article as:
Horowitz, T.S., Klieger, S.B., Fencsik, D.E. et al. Perception & Psychophysics (2007) 69: 172. doi:10.3758/BF03193740
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Abstract

Is content addressable in the representation that subserves performance in multiple-object-tracking (MOT) experiments? We devised an MOT variant that featured unique, nameable objects (cartoon animals) as stimuli. There were two possible response modes: standard, in which observers were asked to report the locations of all target items, and specific, in which observers had to report the location of a particular object (e.g., “Where is the zebra?”). A measure of capacity derived from accuracy allowed for comparisons of the results between conditions. We found that capacity in the specific condition (1.4 to 2.6 items across several experiments) was always reliably lower than capacity in the standard condition (2.3 to 3.4 items). Observers could locate specific objects, indicating a content-addressable representation. However, capacity differences between conditions, as well as differing responses to the experimental manipulations, suggest that there may be two separate systems involved in tracking, one carrying only positional information, and one carrying identity information as well.

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Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Todd S. Horowitz
    • 1
    • 2
  • Sarah B. Klieger
    • 1
  • David E. Fencsik
    • 1
    • 2
  • Kevin K. Yang
    • 3
  • George A. Alvarez
    • 4
  • Jeremy M. Wolfe
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Visual Attention LaboratoryBrigham and Women’s HospitalBoston
  2. 2.Brigham and Women’s HospitalBoston
  3. 3.Boston CollegeChestnut Hill
  4. 4.Harvard UniversityCambridge