How selective attention affects the detection of motion changes with peripheral vision in MOT

Heliyon. 2019 Aug 13;5(8):e02282. doi: 10.1016/j.heliyon.2019.e02282. eCollection 2019 Aug.

Abstract

In sports, peripheral vision is expected to play an important role in tasks that demand distributed attention and motion-change detection. By using the Multiple-Object-Tracking (MOT) task, these demands were simulated in a well-controlled laboratory environment. Participants tracked four target out of ten moving objects (6 distractors) and pressed a button when one of the ten objects stopped. Detection rates for tracked targets were compared to detection rates of non-tracked distractors at eccentricities between 5° and 25°. The study's aim was to test how the location of attention affects peripheral motion detection. The results show a large attention effect because target stops were detected in 89 % and distractor stops only in 55 % of the trials. Distractor stops were more likely detected when they occurred closer to the fovea while target stops were detected at all eccentricities. That means, orienting attention at target objects facilitates the peripheral detection of their motion changes in monitoring tasks. Having distractors closer to the fovea increases the chance to also detect motion changes of unattended objects. On a theoretical level, results support a tracking mechanism with object-based attention, serial covert attention shifts and flexible but limited attentional resources. On a practical level, sports' experts should use their extensive knowledge to locate attention on most-relevant objects and reduce the eccentricity to other objects to detect motion changes of attended and unattended objects.

Keywords: Neuroscience.