Eye movements during multiple object tracking: where do participants look?

Cognition. 2008 Jul;108(1):201-9. doi: 10.1016/j.cognition.2007.11.008. Epub 2007 Dec 21.


Similar to the eye movements you might make when viewing a sports game, this experiment investigated where participants tend to look while keeping track of multiple objects. While eye movements were recorded, participants tracked either 1 or 3 of 8 red dots that moved randomly within a square box on a black background. Results indicated that participants fixated closer to targets more often than to distractors. However, on 3-target trials, fixation was closer to the center of the triangle formed by the targets more often than to any individual targets. This center-looking strategy seemed to reflect that people were grouping the targets into a single object rather than simultaneously minimizing all target eccentricities. Here we find that observers deliberately focus their eyes on a location that is different from the objects they are attending, perhaps as a consequence of representing those objects as a group.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attention
  • Eye Movements*
  • Female
  • Fixation, Ocular*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motion Perception*
  • Visual Perception*