Higher visuo-Attentional Demands of Multiple Object Tracking (MOT) Lead to A Lower Precision in Pointing Movements

J Gen Psychol. 2018 Apr-Jun;145(2):134-152. doi: 10.1080/00221309.2018.1437385. Epub 2018 Mar 20.


Multiple object tracking (MOT) requires visually attending to dynamically moving targets and distractors. This cognitive ability is based on perceptual-attentional processes that are also involved in goal-directed movements. This study aimed to test the hypothesis that MOT affects the motor performance of aiming movements. Therefore, the participants performed pointing movements using their fingers or a computer mouse that controlled the movements of a cursor directed at the targets in the MOT task. The precision of the pointing movements was measured, and it was predicted that a higher number of targets and distractors in the MOT task would result in a lower pointing precision. The results confirmed this hypothesis, indicating that MOT might influence the performance of motor actions. The potential factors underlying this influence are discussed.

Keywords: motor performance; motor precision; multiple object tracking; pointing movements; visual attention.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Attention / physiology*
  • Eye Movements / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Movement / physiology*
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*
  • Visual Perception / physiology*
  • Young Adult