Research has demonstrated that individuals who routinely engage in complex visuospatial tasks (e.g., radar operators) show an enhanced ability to track multiple randomly moving targets. This study examined tracking expertise using members of a University Officer Training Corps (OTCs) who regularly engage in tasks requiring good dynamic spatial cognition. As expected, the results show that OTCs have enhanced tracking ability relative to other undergraduates. More importantly, they support the idea that, while one set of executive processes are involved in the moment-by-moment updating of the visuospatial representations necessary for dynamic, multiple-object tracking, other processes are activated when whole object sets disappear simultaneously, to create a long-term memory trace of the objects’ locations at the moment of their disappearance. Expertise only arose in the former processes, but was lost after a short decay period, such as occurred with a delayed response.
- multiple-object tracking
- visuospatial representations