Evidence against a speed limit in multiple-object tracking

S. L. Franconeri, J. Y. Lin, Z. W. Pylyshyn, B. Fisher, J. T. Enns

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


Everyday tasks often require us to keep track of multiple objects in dynamic scenes. Past studies show that tracking becomes more difficult as objects move faster. In the present study, we show that this trade-off may not be due to increased speed itself but may, instead, be due to the increased crowding that usually accompanies increases in speed. Here, we isolate changes in speed from variations in crowding, by projecting a tracking display either onto a small area at the center of a hemispheric projection dome or onto the entire dome. Use of the larger display increased retinal image size and object speed by a factor of 4 but did not increase interobject crowding. Results showed that tracking accuracy was equally good in the large-display condition, even when the objects traveled far into the visual periphery. Accuracy was also not reduced when we tested object speeds that limited performance in the small-display condition. These results, along with a reinterpretation of past studies, suggest that we might be able to track multiple moving objects as fast as we can a single moving object, once the effect of object crowding is eliminated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)802-808
Number of pages7
JournalPsychonomic Bulletin and Review
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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