Behavioral dynamics and neural grounding of a dynamic field theory of multi-object tracking

J.P. Spencer, K. Barich, J. Goldberg, S. Perone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


The ability to dynamically track moving objects in the environment is crucial for efficient interaction with the local surrounds. Here, we examined this ability in the context of the multi-object tracking (MOT) task. Several theories have been proposed to explain how people track moving objects; however, only one of these previous theories is implemented in a real-time process model, and there has been no direct contact between theories of object tracking and the growing neural literature using ERPs and fMRI. Here, we present a neural process model of object tracking that builds from a Dynamic Field Theory of spatial cognition. Simulations reveal that our dynamic field model captures recent behavioral data examining the impact of speed and tracking duration on MOT performance. Moreover, we show that the same model with the same trajectories and parameters can shed light on recent ERP results probing how people distribute attentional resources to targets vs. distractors. We conclude by comparing this new theory of object tracking to other recent accounts, and discuss how the neural grounding of the theory might be effectively explored in future work.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)339-362
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Integrative Neuroscience
Issue number03
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2012


  • Attention
  • working memory
  • object tracking
  • dynamical systems
  • neural networks
  • electroencephalography

Cite this