ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2019, Vol. 27 ›› Issue (12): 2007-2018.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2019.02007

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The neural mechanism of multiple object tracking

WEI Liuqing1,2, ZHANG Xuemin2,3()   

  1. 1 Department of Psychology, Faculty of Education, Hubei University, Wuhan 430062, China
    2 Beijing Key Laboratory of Applied Experimental Psychology; National Demonstration Center for Experimental Psychology Education (Beijing Normal University); Faculty of Psychology, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
    3 State Key Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience and Learning, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
  • Received:2019-05-02 Online:2019-12-15 Published:2019-10-21
  • Contact: ZHANG Xuemin


Researchers have used the Multiple Object Tracking (MOT) task to study how people distribute visual attention in when they view dynamic scenes. Studies have used event-related potential (ERP) to investigate neural electrophysiological activity and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to measure functional localization in the human brain while people process dynamic visual information. Studies found that ERP amplitudes changed with tracking load. The difference between ERP amplitudes elicited by the probes on the targets versus distractors reflected how people were distributing attention between the targets and distractors. In other words, the ERP amplitudes reflected people's increased attention to the targets and inhibited attention to the distractors during tracking. The fMRI studies consistently found strong activation in the dorsolateral frontal cortex (DLFC) and the parietal lobe, including the anterior intraparietal sulcus (AIPS), posterior intraparietal sulcus (PostIPS), and superior parietal lobule (SPL). The IPS had a particularly strong relationship with attentional load. The level of activation in the IPS was directly related to observers’ attentional tracking performance. The evidence also suggests that the SPL might be responsible for attentional shifts and that the DLFC might be related to the sensorimotor prediction during tracking.

Key words: Multiple Object Tracking, attention distribution, event-related potentials (ERP), functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), intraparietal sulcus (IPS)

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